The London Lions remain perfect on their European travels as they edge past a tough opponent in Istanbul.
Big man Gabe Olaseni – who previously played for four years in Turkey – led the game in scoring by putting up a dominant 24 points.
Round 7 of this season’s EuroCup saw another tough test for Petar Božić’s side as they hit the road to face Basketbol Süper Ligi side, Beşiktaş.
The Turkish club entered the game having lost just European game this season, which narrowly came back in October against BC Wolves. Since then, they’ve won all five of their games with two of them coming in Europe.
The visitors began the game without six players – including Sam Dekker and Tariq Phillip. However, Josh Sharma’s return boosted London who now have extra cover on their roster.
Shooting 56.6% on the evening, the Lions’ impressive scoring night began in the first quarter – which was evenly balanced whilst both teams found their feet in the game. The visitors went on to close the quarter strong, with Conor Morgan’s buzzer-beating three pointer marking a quick-fire burst that saw London six points ahead in the early stages of the match.
With the Lions looking to extend their lead in the game, the hosts hit form through guard Matt Mitchell. The 24-year-old had 19 points on the night in just 23 minutes – helping his team to tie the game up in the second quarter.
Just four points separated the two teams going into the break, with London going toe-to-toe with a team that had the second-best defensive record in the competition.
Excellent ball movement from the reigning British Basketball League champions allowed for open looks and efficient shooting from behind the arc. The visitors shot an astonishing 50% from three-point land in the game, with Beşiktaş themselves struggling to convert from the same territory.
With that being said, the Turkish side were winning the battle on the glass – keeping them within touching distance of London’s nine-point lead.
The two teams kept the crowd on their feet as the game came to a close. Beşiktaş clawed their way back into the match and were back within two points with seconds remaining on the clock.
The Lions went on to crucially make one of their two free throws, which proved to be enough as Leyton Hammonds missed the game-tying shot for Beşiktaş.
Consequently, both teams now have a 5-2 record in this season’s EuroCup – putting them a place behind the unbeaten Paris who leads the way after seven games.
Watch the highlights from Beşiktaş Emlakjet vs London Lions here.