London Lions Complete 4-Game Regular Season Sweep of Cheshire Phoenix with 65-86 Road Victory. GB National Stars Luke Nelson and Josh Sharma Combine for 38 Points Off the Bench.
The Londoners got off to a shaky start missing their first four shot attempts under the roof of the Cheshire Oaks Arena. However, double-double magnet Kosta Koufos broke the Lions' duck a little of three minutes into the game with a low post bucket off a high-IQ dime from Mo Soluade.
This spurred London on to connect on four of their next five buckets from open play, including a pair of shots from the charity stripe to give themselves a healthy 6-14 going into the second half of the first period. Both teams traded buckets towards the end of the quarter, but rookie Jonathan Komagum had the last laugh with a crowed silencing triple to end the period (13-21).
The northwest England-based club opened the second quarter with back-to-back buckets, to which the Lions replied with two of their own (17-26). Both teams spent the next minute trading missed shots and free throws until GB star Luke Nelson connected from long distance to extend the Lions' lead to ten points (22-32).
However, this (seemingly healthy) advantage was eroded as Cheshire caught fire and went on an 11-3 run to cut the Lions' lead to a mere two points (33-35) but also as Ryan Schmidt’s troops struggled to make shots from open play. London’s shot-making troubles continued for the rest of the period, which opened the door for Cheshire to close the Lions’ lead to just one point by the end of the quarter (37-38).
London-born center, Michael Ochereobia’s bucket to open the third period sparked a 9-4 Cheshire run that culminated in a 46-42 lead going into the second half of the quarter. Yet, Koufos ignited London’s fight-back with another low-post vet move to cut the lead to two points.
Tahjai Teague's 3-pointer at the 02:51 mark, which gave the small county club a 51-45 lead, was the last bucket Cheshire made in the quarter. London took advantage of Cheshire's offensive struggles and, in turn, went on a 9-0 surge to end the period with a 51-54 lead.
London Lions defensive identity turned the screw and put a complete stop to Phoenix’s advances for approximately the first five minutes and thirty-two seconds of the fourth quarter. During this time, London went on a gaudy regular season-high 18-0 run to give the capital city a 19-point 53-72 lead.
Teague finally made a bucket at the 04:28 mark, followed by a triple from former Lion Will Neighbour. However, buckets from GB stars Sharma and Nelson and back-to-back triples from rookies Komagum and Zamoku Weluche-Ume contributed to the Lions' 21-point 65-86 victory over Cheshire – completing the four-game regular season sweep of the northwest England-based club.