BBL Cup: Plymouth 80 London Lions 90
- Credit: Archant
The cool head of Justin Robinson and free-scoring Brandon Peel led the Lions in a professional display as they dispatched the Plymouth Raiders at the Pavilions.
It was a second win over the Raiders for the Lions after winning 101-86 at the Copper Box a week earlier in their attempt to get out of the group stages.
Raiders lined up with Isa Brandon, Kostas Jonuska, Jackson Hyland, Tyrell Johnson and Rashad Hassan, as Lions started with Jorge Romero, Peel, Dii'Jon Allen-Jordan, Robinson and Joe Ikhinmwin.
Hassan quickly scored for the hosts and further shots by the former Lion increased Raiders lead to eight points, before a three-point shot by Robinson out of a timeout saw the Lions get in to the game.
Johnson and Hassan extended the Raiders lead with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter, before Ikhinmwin and Allen-Jordan both took three-point shots, putting the visitors within three.
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Lay-ups and free-throws by Jonuska saw the Raiders end the first quarter with a four-point lead at 23-19.
The Lions combined various defences to try and slow down Hassan, who would end the first half with 14 points, and captain Ikhinmwin had a solid defensive display whilst on his way to 10 points at the other end too.
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Raiders had the lead by six points, but this gap did not stay for long as a three-point shot by Jules Dang Akodo and a dunk by Samuel Toluwase put the Lions one point behind and a foul sent Jordan Jackson to the free throw line making one to tie the game.
Successful free-throws from Hassan and Jordan Whelan for Lions tightened the gap to only one point, leaving the score at the end of the half at 40-39 to the hosts.
After the break, Lions began to take the lead and a Robinson lay-up put them ahead by six points, the first time they had been in the lead all game.
However, Raiders fought back with a three-point shot by Jonuska and a lay-up by Johnson, which gave Lions only a two-point advantage.
The Lions, though, were now in their stride with their familiar running game and shots by Brandon Peel and free throws from Toluwase put the Lions ahead by a huge 14 points.
Raiders slightly closed the deficit, though, to leave the score at the end of the third quarter at 71-62.
Jonuska commenced the final quarter for Raiders with a lay-up which was followed up with another from Hassan.
Further shots from Hassan closed the gap to only two points with just over five minutes remaining, the closest the hosts had been for a while.
This did not last for long, though, with shots by Robinson giving Lions a 10-point lead before a foul on Hassan gave Raiders extra points and a lay-up by Tola Okiki put them only seven behind.
Lions maintained their the lead despite a huge three-point shot from Palmer with only 13 seconds to go to please coach Vince Macaulay.
He said: "I thought we approached this game the right way. We needed to win on the road and coming here is not easy, no matter who is dressed for them.
"It's a tough venue, always very noisy and a great crowd, I feel we did what we needed to do to put ourselves in a position to move forward."
The Lions return to home action this Friday (November 8), when they entertain the Worcester Wolves.
Due to events at the Copper Box Arena, the game will be played at the University of East London's SportsDock and tickets are available for just £7.