BBL Championship

Worcester Wolves 80-78 London Lions (20-20, 38-40, 55-62)

The Worcester Wolves handed London Lions their first BBL Championship loss of the season and snap their 4-0 winning streak in a game that was decided on the buzzer.

Wolves’ Amir Williams produced an MVP performance, posting a scintillating double-double of 31 points and 18 rebounds, and securing Wolves the win on the buzzer after London had tied the game with less than 10 seconds left in the quarter.

The Lions had survived a very sloppy first quarter in which the committed 8 turnovers allowing their hosts to get easy scores. At !8-15, Jordan Jackson off the bench hit a lay up and made two free throws to cut the deficit to a single point before a Peel free throw tied proceedings at the end of the quarter, 20-20.

There wasn’t much between the two sides as Andre Lockhart hit a pair of threes to tie at 30 apiece with just over 5 minutes remaining. Van Sauers would be the only Wolf to score in the next 4 minutes but courtesy of Joe Ikhinmwin and Justin Robinson it was 36-36. Four straight from Brandon Peel gave the Lions a slender 38-40 lead at half time.

Wolves were quick out of the blocks as Amir Williams was extending his range, at 46-42 it was Jules Dang-Akodo who responded for the Lions, then Ali Tew threw down a monstrous dunk on Williams as he tried to assert himself. That sparked an 11-2 run from the Lions that gave them a big 53-57 lead with under 2 minutes of the quarter left. A break way dunk from Hughes for the home side was the response, but Ikhinmwin and Peel closed out the quarter to see Lions lead 55-62 going into the final quarter.

Things stayed tight before Wolves closed to 61-65 then the serene Peel responded, then Amir Williams hit a jump hook over the outstretched arms of Peel, to make it 67-72 with four and a half minutes to play. The Lions missed their next two shots as Amir and Jordan Williams responded forcing a Lions timeout with 2.59 to play and the score at 71-72. Out of the time out, Lions missed three straight shots and then Robinson was called for an offensive foul. There were now 57 seconds left and the home side holding a slender 73-72 lead.

On the next possession, Cortez Edwards was found with a backdoor pass and was fouled as he scored, he made the free throw and the home side now led, 76-72. Robinson was fouled and the Lions took their time out with 33 seconds left, from the resultant inbound, Robinson missed a three, as Wolves gathered the ball and tried to advance, Lockhart stole it and found League MVP Robinson who hit the triple, 76-75 Wolves and Lockhart fouled on the inbounds with 18 seconds remaining.

Edwards made both from the line, Lions with no timeout’s left calmly ran a play for Robinson who tied the game at 78 with 9 seconds left. On the inbounds, Romero almost stole the ball and again in the front court but as Edwards fumbled, he found Kofi Joseph who rose for the jump shot but at the last second found Amir Williams under the basket and he scored as the buzzer sounded, heralding celebratory scenes for the home side and heartbreak for the Lions, 80-78.

The visiting defence had a done a great job on the Wolves perimeter players but could not stop the size inside of Amir Williams. Peel had a double double with 18 points and 14 boards, whilst Tew chipped in with 9 points and 12 boards himself. Robinson had marshalled his team very well and but for that poor start would have remained unbeaten.

Report; Duncan Hooper, Picture; Graham Hodges.

Now it’s Trophy action to start 2020 as the team entertain Solent Kestrels at the University of East London on the 4th of January, before returning back to the Copper Box on Sunday the 12th of January.