London Lions Shutdown Manchester Giants 93-71 for Fourth Straight Victory. GB International Josh Sharma has BBL Championship Career Night with 28 Points & 6 Blocks. Luke Nelson Dished Out BBL Career High 11 Assists.
24 hours after the Lions claimed their second historic EuroCup victory, London shut down their Northwest rivals, the Manchester Giants, for a 93-71 win on a night filled with BBL Championship career highs for GB Internationals Josh Sharma and Luke Nelson.
Josh Sharma dominated the Giants on both sides of the ball, feeding off the incredible energy from our home fans. Not only could he not be stopped in the paint (and from long distance), but the center also provided high-level rim protection to the tune of 6 blocks. Sharma overpowered Manchester’s bigs in the low block, recording 28 points, and grabbing 8 rebounds, 3 of which were offensive boards.
Five of Sharma’s buckets resulted from his excellent pick-and-roll partnership with combo guard extraordinaire Luke Nelson. As well as helping to dismantle the Giants' pick-and-roll defence, the experienced GB International dished out an additional 6 dimes to finish the game with his BBL Championship career high of 11 assists.
Lions’ second-leading scorer, Tomislav “Zuba” Zubcic, used his years of top-level European experience to craft an 18-point, 7-rebound and 3-steal performance. Efficient from within the arc, the forward completed 62% of his shots.
The London Lions got off to a blazing 20-9 start via the aforementioned Nelson and Sharma one-two punch and buckets from “Zuba,” Aaron Best and Ovie Soko. The team’s reinvigorated defensive identity kept the Giants’ offence at bay. However, “OVERRATED” chants from the Lions faithful fans also helped shake the nerves of Manchester’s players as they attempted to score in open play and at the free throw line.
Zubcic, Best and Dekker pushed the lead out to 29 points by the end of the period. The period ended in a flurry of both teams' back-and-forth open play makes and free throw shots.
The Londoner’s defence played a huge part in yet another dominant quarter. Sam Dekker blocked former London Lions player Dirk Williams at the rim whilst the rest of the Lions, featuring rookies Zamoku Weluche and Ugandan international Jonathan Komagum, caused the Giants to miss 10 shots. Zubcic ended the period with a timely 3-point buzzer beater, contributing to the Lions' 22 total second-quarter points.
The third period didn’t go so well for the hometown squad, as they conceded 18 points and could only put up 13 points of their own. Former Newcastle Eagles captain Rahmon Fletcher, Dirk Williams, Tajh Green and Legend Robertin tried their best to keep the Giants in the game closing the gap to 14 points by the end of the quarter. However, they turned the heat up on the Giants in the fourth.
The Lions took apart Manchester’s defence to the tune of 31 massive points and rained long-range 3-point shots down on the Northwesterners with the help of Josh Ward-Hibbert and Sharma (Yes, you read correctly, Josh Sharma!).
At the 2:05 mark, GB internationals Nelson and Sharma once again executed their excellent pick-and-roll partnership with a slick pick-and-pop which left the 7’0’ center wide open at the 3-point top of the arc to sink his crowd-pleasing triple. The unexpected 3-point make capped off an incredible night for the Sharma and Lions.