Sharks bite London Lions
PUBLISHED: 15:48 31 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:13 31 December 2016
London Lions 76 Sheffield Sharks 77
A huge Copper Box crowd saw Sheffield hold on late to beat the London Lions as Zaire Taylor’s last-gasp attempt rimmed out last night.
Malcolm Riley was the inspiration for Sharks, leading all scorers with 23 points after 71 perr cent shooting from the field and a perfect nine out of nine from the free-throw line.
The Lions had put their visitors in an early hole as an 8-0 tear, capped by a Kai Williams three-pointer, put the hosts up 20-12.
Taylor and Navid Niktash paced the Lions and got them into a 25-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But the visitors came back to level the game at 30-30 after a 15-5 start to the second stanza, with Rashawn Rembert connecting from long-range before Riley was fouled in the act of shooting a three of his own, making all of the free-throws.
The tie was only broken on the half-time buzzer by a pair of Zaire Taylor free-throws and Lions were back up 52-45 after a trio of early third-quarter dunks from Rashad Hassan.
Sharks eventually got in front when Riley hit six points in an 11-2 push, making the score 56-54 and the third was not a good quarter for the Lions as easy shots were missed and most crucially free throws also went begging.
The Sharks led by eight heading into the decisive fourth period when Rembert scored twice on the fast break to make the score 64-56.
Sheffield looked to have it wrapped up in the fourth quarter when Zach Gachette stole the ball and broke away for a dunk, before another Lions turnover gave up another easy basket.
The lead reached double digits at 77-66 on a Riley score with just under four minutes to play, but the Lions came back down the stretch, as that would be the last time the Sharks scored.
Hassan made consecutive baskets to spark the late Lions’ surge and they were back to within one when Taylor scored approaching the final minute.
But it was he who missed on the buzzer, after a defensive stand from the home side gave them the ball down one point with nine seconds left.
Niktash paced the home side with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lions have now lost their last two league games after having a shot to win both games at the death and they must start 2017 in the right manner on the road at Surrey Scorchers tomorrow.
Lions will be back at home on January 14 when Surrey will again be their opponents in the BBL Trophy.
Lions; Niktash 19, Taylor 19, Hassan 18, K Williams 13, Ikhinmwin 3, Lockhart 0, Wells 0, Moyo 0.
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