BBL Championship
London Lions 96-78 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle (24-24, 51-51, 75-69)

London Lions extended their lead at the top of the BBL Championship after beating Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, at the Copper Box.

The Lions now move to 9-1 after inflicting a third league loss on the second-placed Eagles with both teams with another game to play this weekend.

The Lions came out roaring as they forced a quick time out from their visitors on the back of a 7-0 run. Justin Robinson and Brandon Peel kept the scoreboard moving inside and out whilst surprisingly, the Eagles’ big men Victor Moses and Darius Defoe started hitting three pointers. The quarter ended 24-24.

The Eagles carried on with more long-range shooting before Ladarius Tabb had Lions up 7 points. Another three-point barrage tied the game for the Eagles at 51 apiece going into the half time break.

The Eagles big men had made five three pointers between them as their side were 9/17 at that range. We grabbed Coach Macaulay on his way out asking what adjustments were to be made but he implied the Eagles big men would be left to shoot as many there as they wanted as long as his side concentrated on the boards.

Another blistering quarter saw Eagles’ Rahmon Fletcher show his class as he nailed long range points, Defoe added another three whilst for the home side, Flo Larkai was dunking his way to 12 points in the key. Again it was the home side who edged ahead on the back of Andre Lockhart’s electric inclusion, Lions led by 7 at the end of quarter.

The fourth, and the Lions were rampant, with big guns, Robinson, Peel and Bristol on the bench, Spencer and Lockhart orchestrated an offensive clinic whilst the defence locked the Eagles down to only 9 points in the quarter, the game was capped off with a spectacular windmill stuff from Tabb as the Lions claimed the points, 96-78.

Key stat – The Lions out-rebounded their opponents 52-37 and benefited with 24 points off of their opponents’ turnovers, while Newcastle’s hot 3-point shooting in the first half cooled.

Game hero(es) – Tabb had a huge game for the Lions with a 30-point haul along with 14 rebounds as well as adding four assists and four steals with four other team-mates in double-figures including Jordan Spencer, who handed out 11 assists.

The Lions’ are back at home tomorrow (Sunday) when they entertain the Leicester Riders, Tip Off will be at 5pm.

Lions scorers – Tabb 30, Robinson 17, Larkai 12, Peel 11, Spencer 10, Bristol 7, Lockhart 6, Guede 3, Okoro 0, Ikhinmwin, James.

Eagles Scorers – Fletcher 22, Moses 16, Kyle Williams 15

Box score.