30 points from Ladarius Tabb and a double-double from Brandon Peel saw the London Lions defeat the Worcester Wolves 82-65 at the Copper Box on Friday evening.
While it wasn’t the walkover seen a week earlier against the Glasgow Rocks, there were some stand out performances, including from Andre Lockhart who worked tirelessly on both ends of the court, and acting as a motivator in the absence of Captain Joe Ikhinmwin.
The dunking ability of Tabb is also cementing him as a fan favourite early into the season.
The opening was a little tough on Kervin Bristol as he clocked up 2 fouls in under a minute and had to be replaced. The Lions’ defence was strong throughout the game, but for periods they found themselves struggling on the other end of the court, particularly from downtown, scoring just four from 25 attempts.
The saving grace for the Lions is that the Wolves were worse from everywhere else, especially the free throw line, from where they didn’t make a single shot in the first half.
The Wolves, who were delayed in traffic getting to the venue, took some time to get into the game. The Lions took the opportunity to quickly put away six unanswered points.
But the Lions offensive struggles took over and within a minute and a half Worcester had taken the lead.
The rest of the quarter was a scrappy affair as both sides traded turnovers as they attempted to wrestle the lead.
With a minute and change left in the first, Tabb took control following his two made free throws, with a dunk, off a Lockhart rebound in the dying seconds to give the Lions a three point lead.
Both sides continued to trade buckets through the second quarter until Justin Robinson stepped up with back to back threes giving the Lions a five point lead. The introduction of Jordan Spencer after last week’s injury returned balance to the side.
The scrappiness continued as both teams went five minutes without scoring. The deadlock was broken by Peel with two free throws. The score at the half was 32-25.
London were strong out of the gates in the second half, building the lead up to ten within the first two minutes. Tabb would quickly make it a 13 point lead as he was sent to the free throw line after being fouled on the layup.
Worcester put themselves straight back in it with unanswered back to back threes.
But the Lions pressured back on defence and, as Kervin Bristol converted the alley-oop, the lead was back up to 13 with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter.
Worcester were throwing everything at the Lions, but it just wasn’t enough thanks to some excellent defending including a superb block from Bristol.
Two last second free throws reduced the Lions lead to ten at the end of the third.
London outscored and outpaced the Wolves in the final quarter, not least thanks to seven points from Jordan Spencer, as the Lions wrapped up a second home victory of the season.
The Lions are next in action on Friday in Sheffield before returning to the capital as the defending champions in the Basketball All Stars on October 14th, at the Copper Box Arena.
Report; P. Groves, Pic;
Lions Scorers; Tabb 30, Peel 12, Robinson 10, Spencer 10, Bristol 8, Larkai 6, Okoro 4, James 2, Guede 0, Roberts 0, Ekperuoh 0, Lockhart 0.
Wolves Scorers; Whelan 18, Combs 12, Servera 10.