The London Lions have lost their first league game of the season after falling short in Plymouth.
The victory marked a milestone for Patriots head coach Paul James, who has now won 500 games in the British Basketball League.
After emphatically beating second placed Bristol Flyers on Friday evening, the Lions headed south to take on a struggling Plymouth City Patriots on Sunday afternoon.
The home side entered the game with a record of 1-11 whilst riding a seven-game losing streak. Their only win of the season came against the Sheffield Sharks, which came back on October 1st.
London entered the game coming off the back of a tight schedule with games coming thick and fast for the reigning champions. Petar Božić named a slightly different starting five to what fans have been used to seeing withg six key players being unavailable for the game.
The Lions were without last season’s MVP Sam Dekker, who was joined on the sidelines by Josh Sharma, Luke Nelson, Tarik Phillip, Conor Morgan, and captain Jordan Taylor.
Plymouth began the game strongly and made the most of a trademark slow start from the Lions. The hosts put up 15 points in the opening five minutes, with London conceding five turnovers across that space of time.
It was sloppy to say the least from the league leaders, who finished the first quarter trailing by 13.
The first half featured some highlight plays from the hosts which included a ferocious slam from the high-flying Jacob Wiley. The Patriots were in inspired form – taking a dominant 21-point lead into the break.
After a disappointing first half, London fought back in the third quarter by going on a 23-16 run. Bradley Kaboza was a bright spark for the Lions by leading his side in scoring. The 22-year-old put up 21 points whilst also collecting five rebounds and providing two assists.
Despite his team’s best efforts, they went into the final quarter with a 14-point deficit to erase.
The game featured the league’s top three most efficient shooters in Matt Morgan (59%), TJ Atwood (55.4%) and Jacob Wiley (54.9%). However, it was Taylor Johnson who led the game in scoring in what was a much-needed victory for the hosts.
The Lions struggled with turnovers in the game and finished the evening with 22. With a stretch of road games coming up, London will look to quickly put the defeat behind them and return to winning ways.
Watch the highlights from Plymouth City Patriots vs London Lions here.