Surrey Scorchers 80-77 London Lions (26-18, 50-32, 68-53)
Surrey Sports Park
26 October 2019
The home team stood firm against a late Lions comeback from Vince Macaulay’s team to secure their first win in the BBL Cup.
A horrendous first half from the Lions saw Scorchers race out to an early lead as captain Tayo Ogedengbe scored nine points in a matter of minutes. The Lions struggled to contain the Scorchers as defence was sluggish and rotations slow. Coupled with that the Lions launched a series of unsuccessful three pointers as the home side led 26-18 in the first quarter.
The Scorchers continued with the same intensity in the second quarter as Adrian Kuyinu scored eight points in four minutes to extend the lead to 20 points. The Lions were drawing blanks everywhere, the three point count at half was now 1/17 and there seemed no way back as the Lions trailed 50-32, into the locker rooms.
The Lions came out fighting in the second half, as BBL MVP Justin Robinson and forward Brandon Peel joined forces to apply some pressure to the home team. Despite a few defensive stops, Scorchers held their nerve and headed into the fourth quarter with a 15-point lead.
This gap proved to be pivotal as the Lions came racing out to a 21-5 run in the final quarter, Jules Dang-Akodo hit 5 in a row, Robinson stole the ball to score before Peel found him for an uncontested lay up. Multiple defences had frustrated the home side to the point that Dang-Akodo drained a three giving the Lions an improbable lead with under two minutes to go.
After a 13-0 run the Lions had the ball then turned it over, it led to Ogedengbe hitting a turn around jumper at the elbow to go 75-74, Jordan Jackson grabbed the Scorchers miss and this time Peel made no mistake off the Lockhart assist to drain a triple, 75-77 with 68 seconds left. Then an off balance falling three from Kiyunu at the end of the shot clock restored the Scorchers lead by one point at 78-77
Coming out of a time out, the Dang-Akodo’s floater was long but Sam Toluwase snared the rebound and found Robinson with just 11 seconds left, he drove to the hoop and missed with the Lions bench up calling for a foul but none given.
The Lions had to foul and Two big free-throws from Skyler White extended the Scorchers lead to three points with four seconds remaining, and a last-second shot from Justin Robinson was unsuccessful.
The Lions fell to 1-4 with 5 games left in the qualifiers to try to get through to the Quarter-Finals.
Coach Macaulay was disgruntled at the end. “The game became too big for the officials, but I have to say my team were the worst team in the building and we deserved nothing from there. The fight back was fine but just showed a lack of mental readiness for how poor we were in the first half. Credit to the Scorchers who shot well in the game, but I think we are a work in progress.”
The Lions will return to action on Friday the 1st of November when the London City Royals are the visitors, tickets are available HERE for what promises to be a huge clash.