BBL Championship – Lions overcome Flyers

London Lions 81-68 Bristol Flyers (26-18, 39-42, 63-52)

London Lions continue to look very strong at the top of the BBL Championship as they opened 2019 with victory over Bristol Flyers.

Vince Macaulay’s side see their advantage increase as they move to 13-3 with the Flyers now at 7-4 as they drop below the Riders.

The home side flew out of the blocks as all five starters scored as they stormed to a 13-2 lead after 5 minutes, Daniel Edozie’s lay up the only Bristol score. As the visitors worked their way back in, three successive three’s from the Lions through Ladarius Tabb, Justin Robinson and Paul Guede made it 22-12 with just under 2 minutes left of the first. Jalan McCloud’s buzzer beater made the score 26-18 at the end of the first.
Energy from the Lions’ bench through Jerelle Okoro and Andre Lockhart kept things moving, then Brandon Peel dunked and it was 31-22, a 2-8 Flyers run in which Okoro was the only Lions scorer with a pair of free throws suddenly saw the scoreboard at 32-30 with 4 minutes left to half time. The Lions had looked a little sloppy and in particular unforced losses trying to dribble in traffic cost them. Thomas tied for Flyers at 32 before Kervin Bristol slammed off a Jordan Spencer assist. With 35 seconds left, McCloud tied at 39 before the Lions lost the ball and the same player beat the buzzer with a three point shot and surprisingly it was the visiting Flyers who went in at the half, up 39-42.
It turned out that the Lions bench had been charged a technical foul right at the end, so Bristol would start the third quarter at the free throw line, Justin Gray making the free throw and we would start the third quarter 39-43.
Bristol would lead for a total of 1 minutes and 40 seconds as whatever was said in the locker room, the Lions locked down on defence. An 8-0 Lions start with dunks and three’s served notice. It took 2 minutes before the visitors responded. Another 8-2 run ended the contest, Bristol would score a total of 10 points in the third as Lions players won every 50/50 ball rebounded hard and transitioned into easy scores. The third ended 63-52.
Bristol tried to fight back but the Lions were now at another level and kept them at arm’s length. Dunk’s from Bristol and Tabb excited the crowd and when Robinson put Edozie on skates to splash the three everyone rose up and celebrated a strong Lions home win, 81-68. In the end the Lions showed their worth. THE LIONS OVERCOME FLYERS!

Game hero(es) – Robinson and Peel netted 19 points apiece in the win for the Lions with Tabb posting another double-double with 14 points and 10 boards.
Next action will be a trip to Worcester on the 18th before the BBL Cup Final on the 27th of January at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
Lions scorers – Robinson 19, Peel 19, Tabb 14, Spencer 9, Bristol 8, Lockhart 7, Guede 3, Okoro 2, Ikhinmwin 0, Roberts 0, James 0, Ekperuoh.
Flyers Scorers – Thomas 14, McCloud 14, Gray 12