London Lions 99-92 Plymouth Raiders (18-25, 43-41, 64-69)
London Lions are now just one result away from winning the BBL Championship title after overcoming a slow start to beat Plymouth Raiders.
Vince Macaulay’s side are now at 25-5 and could be champions before playing their next game on Monday, while the Raiders drop to 15-16 to remain seventh.
The Raiders made a strong start and led by as many as 14 in the opening period. Their zone defence which had seen them overcome a 20 point half time deficit last weekend against the City Royals was having an impact.
Coach Macaulay shuffled his pack looking for the key and it came in the form of veteran Paul Guede. Guede closed the quarter with back-to-back threes which dented the Raiders run. The Lions took the lead before the half, Jordan Spencer and Ladarius Tabb ensuring a 43-41 lead to the hosts.
Tabb started the second half with two dunks and Justin Robinson continued to orchestrate matters. The visitors though hit back to take a five-point lead into the final period.
Lions responded well negating the defence with 5 three’s in the half from Spencer and when the Raiders were scrambling Robinson and Brandon Peel instigated a decisive 10-0 run to give the league leaders victory.
Key stat – Plymouth shot 60% from inside the arc but were down at 19% from 3-point range, while the Lions scored 28 points on the fast break.
Game hero(es) – Spencer led the scoring with 23 points along with nine assists with Robinson just behind on 21. Tabb also finished with 21 to go with 12 boards, while Brandon Peel had 16 and 10 for a double-double of his own. For the Raiders, Nicholas posted an impressive 29 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists, he made 17 free throws out of 21 attempts.
The Lions now return home to the Copper Box after two wins at the University of East London looking for that one win that will seal the BBL Title for London. Tip off on Easter Monday is at 4,00pm and ticke
Lions scorers – Spencer 23, Robinson 21 Tabb 21, Peel 18, Guede 8, Bristol 4, Larkai 2, Lockhart 2, Okoro 0, Roberts, Ekperuoh.
Raiders Scorers – Nicholas 25, Hassan 20, Wilcher 19