London Lions
BC Wolves

The London Lions suffer a narrow defeat to already-eliminated BC Wolves in the group finale of the EuroCup.

Matt Morgan and David Nwaba combined for 32 points but fell short of making the difference despite a strong team effort in East London. 

Heading into this fixture, the Lions felt little pressure, as they had already secured their spot in the playoffs following a win against Hapoel Tel Aviv last month. Nevertheless, they were eager to impress a packed-out Copper Box Arena.

A win on home court could have potentially lifted Petar Boźić’s side ahead of Tel Aviv and into second place – which would have secured London a spot in the competition’s last eight. 

The two sides met in Lithuania last year, when the high-scoring Lions brought home an 87-101 victory, preventing their opponents from registering their 11th win in 12 games. 

But the exhilarating spectacle that commenced on Wednesday night uplifted the 4000 in attendance as the two teams were separated by the slimmest margin in the final quarter. 

Entertainment was promised from the get-go after an evenly contested first quarter saw the two sides cancelling each other's points with action on both ends of the court. 

Tre’Shawn Thurman scored triples just a minute apart to gift the travelling side an edge, but Luke Nelson’s accurate free throws trimmed the deficit to one point entering the second quarter with all to play for. 

But the Wolves geared up in the second, increasing their lead with yet another three-pointer, while the hosts grew increasingly frustrated.

The Lions continued to give away offensive rebounds, causing them to spend the entire quarter chasing their visitors. 

However, in the second quarter, the Wolves extended their lead with yet another successful three-pointer. The hosts became progressively frustrated, giving away needless offensive rebounds and were in constant pursuit of chasing their opponents. 

Petar Božić’s halftime talk certainly boosted his side as they returned to court with a strong intent to decrease a 39-45 deficit.  

With just three minutes left on the clock in the third quarter, an aggressive London narrowed a 10-point gap to just four, with impressive contributions from Josh Sharma and Nwaba.

But, it was the in-form Matt Morgan who ran the show, scoring nine points to spark comeback hopes. However, his excellence from the free throw line was not enough to overthrow a tough Wolves side.

Tensions rose in an emphatic final quarter when the hosts claimed the lead for the first time after Nelson’s perfect free throws were followed by a Sharma slam to make it 69-67. 

The Lithuanian side quickly retained their lead again with two triples in quick succession and with a loud away crowd cheering them on – they rounded out the match with an 80-85 victory.   

A win for Hapoel Tel Aviv over Beşiktaş promised them a second-place finish in Group A, whilst the Lions clinched the third seed. As a result, London will take on Turk Telekom Ankara in the Round of 16 of the EuroCup Playoffs. 

Watch the highlights from London Lions vs BC Wolves here.

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