Turk Telekom Snap London Lions 3-Game Win, 74-102. Lions Turnovers, Defence and Inability to Connect From Long Range Hamper Their Fightback. Sam Dekker Puts Up 20 Points, 7 Rebounds and 6 Assists on his return to Turkey
The London Lions fell to Turkish Basketbol Süper Ligi titans Turk Telekom Ankara, 74-102, ending their historic 3-game win streak.
On his return to the Ankara Spor Salonu arena, Sam Dekker led from the front with a 20-point, 7-rebound and 6-assist effort whilst shooting 63.6% from the field. The combo forward, who clocked in just over 33 minutes for the Lions, also connected on 3 of 4 of his free throw shots.
Kosta Koufos shot 62.5% from the field (5 of 8 shots) to the tune of 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. The Greek national team veteran also grabbed 1 steal and blocked 1 shot.
GB national player Luke Nelson dished out 5 assists, grabbed a team-leading 2 steals and put up 9 points. Tomislav “Zuba” Zubcic connected on 3 of 5 of his shots at 60% from the field and hit 3 shots from the charity stripe, recording 9 points.
The game started promising for London as they flew out to a 2-6 lead. Although Ankara matched the Lions, almost bucket for bucket, Lions’ EuroCup famed defensive identity kept the Turkish side a bay.
However, at the 01:10 mark of the first quarter, the levies cracked, and former NBA star Jerian Grant took full advantage when he hit a 3-pointer to give Turk Telekom a 13-12 lead. Undeterred, sharp-shooter Vojtech Hruban andSam Dekker hit back-to-back triples to end the period with a 13-18 lead.
The second quarter didn’t fare as well for the Lions, as they were only able to score 18 points and subsequently conceded 27 points. The Lions collectively gave up 5 turnovers during the period compared to just 2 in the first quarter. By halftime, the Lions were only down 40-36 and still in the game.
Although they were having trouble connecting from long range, the Lions led the game in total rebounds (22 compared to Turk Telekom’s 20) and team 2-point shooting percentage (50% compared to Turk Telekom’s 45%).
The third quarter saw London concede 32 points, 5 more points than they did in the second period and only put up 18 points. 5 turnovers again marred London’s fightback, and several missed shots from the 3-point line. Tyrique Jones, Nathan Sestina, Erkan Yilmaz, Boran Guler, and France national veteran Axel Bouteille shared the bulk of the scoring for the Turkish side.
Turk Telekom put up another 30 points in the fourth quarter, ultimately condemning the Lions to their fourth 7Day EuroCup season loss. Although the Lions struggled with their outside shot, they led the game with 39 rebounds and matched Ankara’s 5 blocks with 5 of their own. They were also able to weave their way through the paint to the tune of 56.8%, not too far behind Turk Telekom’s 57.8%.