Plymouth Raiders 82-91 London Lions (23-20, 43-54, 64-73)
In the Championship, London Lions extended their top-of-the-table lead after overcoming Plymouth Raiders 82-91 on Friday evening.
Love Island and GB International Ovie Soko continued to prove himself a vital asset for the Lions as he picked up his second double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds. League MVP Justin Robinson also picked up an additional 20 points and Brandon Peel tallied a game-high 12 rebounds as the defending Champions saw off a spirited effort from the home side.
Lions took to the floor without Jorge Romero who has now left the club due to having to complete a University Course in Spain. Starters were Justin Robinson, Jules Dang-Akodo, Captain Joe Ikhinmwin, Brandon Peel and Ovie Soko. The home side without Josh Wilcher after a small operation and Rashad Hassan with a dislocated shoulder started with Isa Brandon, Ron Mvouika, Tyrell Johnson, Leslie Smith and Kostas Jonuska.
Johnson was the star man in the first quarter as his athletic ability delivered 13 points in the quarter as he tipped and dunked his way around. Lions were steady albeit a little leg heavy after the bus trip but good play from Ikhinmwin and Soko ensured they were in touch, down 23-20 at the end of the first.
Johnson was quickly corralled in the second as he would only add 4 more points the whole game whilst sharp three point shooting from Robinson, Ikhinmwin and Peel ensured the Lions offence hit the gears to deliver 34 points in the quarter as Raiders were silenced and the half time score showed 43-54 in Lions favour.
Whilst never getting past third gear the Lions extended the lead to 16 points but poor free throw shooting and 16 turnovers in the game meant the home side were always hanging around. Three three’s, two from Jonuska and one from Mvouika closed the gap to 7 poimnts but a Lions time out quelled things and the third ended 64-73.
In the fourth good defence from the Raiders, Denzil Uniaro in particular saw him break away for a pair of dunks but Soko despite sitting for a while on 4 fouls drove hard inside and forced the home side’s big men to foul him. Cool play from Robinson saw the Lions home as they capped it with a Soko dunk to win 82-91
Lions now entertain the City Royals on Sunday 12th January at the Copper Box Arena. Tickets available HERE