Worcester Wolves 92-67 London Lions
Friday 20th September 2019
The short-handed London Lions fell on the road to Worcester Wolves in the opening pool game of the revamped BBL Cup on Friday.
The defending Champion Lions found out before tip off that International Clearance for point guard Jorge Romero had not arrived at Basketball England headquarters and so he would be forced to sit out the game, whilst Visa issues had delayed the arrival of centre Trent Weaver who met his team mates on the bus to Worcester straight from Gatwick Airport.
A tight first quarter saw the Lions take to the floor without their usual pace and penetration as positions shifted. The visitors were late on closing out to three point shooters and allowed the hosts to lead 28-24 at the end of the first quarter,
Coach Macaulay implored his charges to step up the defence but still Worcester guards hot from behind the arc. Brandon Peel kept the scoreboard ticking on his way to a half time double double. So whilst baskets came the defence was a sign of things to come.
Lions were the best defensive team in the League last term and that is clearly an area that will need to be addressed. As if that was not bad enough for Lions coaching staff, the offence dried up in the third quarter as they could only garner a paltry 8 points whilst Worcester opened up a 72-50 lead going into the final stanza.
Further Wolves triples from Kofi Josephs and Mark Hughes sealed the game as the Lions lost 92-67.
Peel finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds whilst League MVP, Justin Robinson added 18 on 50% shooting, but more will be expected from the Lions supporting cast.
Head Coach Macaulay was philosophical, “We were never at the races and the defence we displayed was as bad as I have seen from a Lions team. There is plenty to address, getting Jorge and Weaver plugged in for one but also re-establishing our identity.”
Lions Scorers; Peel 30, Robinson 18, Allen-Jordan 6, Whelan 6, Lockhart 3, Jackson 2, Ikhinmwin 2, Weaver 0, Harrison 0, Johnson 0
Wolves Scorers; Josephs 20, Edwards 16, Williams 13