Leicester Riders 83-76 London Lions (20-10, 44-30, 56-53)
31 January; Morningside Arena, Leicester
Defending Champions and League leaders, London Lions fell to Leicester Riders 83-76 in front of a sell-out crowd at Morningside Arena.
Riders flew out of the blocks opening up a 10-2 lead after 4 minutes. Ovie Soko opened the Lions scoring but their offence was disjointed as they struggled to score only nailing 10 points in the first quarter after 18 possessions, to trail 20-10
The Lions would double their scoring in the second quarter from 10 to 20 in an attempt to close the deficit but good outside shooting from Namon Wright and Corey Johnson allowed the home side to lead 44-30, with Soko hitting 16 for the Lions.
Lions opened the third quarter going 12-5 within the first five minutes, bringing them right back into the game, Jules Dang-Akodo and Buay Tuach spearheading the fight back. Justin Robinson hit a mid range off a Riders turnover, eventually trailing by just three, 59-56, as they entered the final period.
The game ebbed and flowed as the Lions press showed up a shaky back court for the Riders and it was this that kept Riders in the game, coupled with good shooting from Johnson. Brandon Peel hit big three’s in the fourth and had the chance to cut the deficit to just two points when fouled but went 1/3. Riders rallied and with the Less than two minutes remaining in the game, Lions had narrowed Rider’s lead to just four points, but Corey Johnson picked up seven additional points for his side, enabling the Riders to hold off Lions until the final buzzer, winning 83-76.
London stay top of the Championship table at 7-2 whilst Riders go to 3-2 in seventh place.
Soko led all scorers with 21 points whilst three Lions, Dang-Akodo, Peel and Tuach all had 11. Johnson led the Riders with 18.
The Lions now travel to Newcastle on the 7th February before returning home on the 12th to face the Cheshire Phoenix.