A poor fourth period saw Lions suffer their first BBL Championship defeat of the season on Friday night as they went down 96-84 at Newcastle Eagles.
The coach-of-the-month curse struck against as Vince Macaulay saw his team outscored 24-15 in the final quarter as Eagles continued to be London’s bogey team, ending the league’s only unbeaten record in the process.
Former BBL MVP Ramon Fletcher was in scintillating form for the hosts with 25 points, 17 points, four rebounds and as many assists. Lions were led by Isaiah Reese’s 23 points, eight assists and four rebounds while Dirk Williams added 18 points and four boards. Kylor Kelley and Lorenzo Cugini finished with 11 points apiece, with the former adding six rebounds while Jordan Williams have ten rebounds to go with his eight assists and as many points.
Chris Tawiah opened the scoring as the visitors made a good start, with three-point plays from Dirk Williams and Reese giving them a 15-7 lead after just four minutes. Although the hosts narrowed the gap, back-to-back Dirk Williams baskets helped give Lions a 23-21 lead at the first break.
Veteran big man Darius Defoe, an east London native, tied the score with the first basket of the second period and although Cugini hit back with a triple the home edged the quarter and Fletcher’s late jump shot sent them into the locker room with a 51-47 lead.
Fletcher scored the opening five points of the second half before former Lion Brandon Peel made it a ten point game, But Reese kept Lions in the game with a triple and the talented American drove to the basket to cut Eagles’ lead to 72-69 going into the final break.
A basket from each Williams followed by a Kelley lay-up saw Lions roar back as they led 75-72 after two fourth period minutes and Reese made it a five point game shortly afterwards.
But that proved to be as good as it got for the Londoners as a Louis Sayers triple in an 11-0 run put Eagles in charge, and a Fletcher free-throw took the lead out to 11 with 2:18 on the clock as Newcastle closed out the win.