British Basketball League: London Lions tamed in Newcastle by Eagles
PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:06 14 October 2017
British Basketball League: Newcastle Eagles 85 London Lions 79
Despite a 17 point turnaround in the third quarter, the London Lions fell to their first defeat of the season at Newcastle Eagles last night.
The defeat came on the road against a strong Eagles side itching for revenge after missing out on silverware at the hands of the Lions in pre-season.
Darius Defoe was also on form for the home team, clocking up thirty points and putting on a fourth quarter performance that took the game away from the Lions after the third quarter heroics.
The first quarter saw the Lions strong on defence, but struggling to make anything count at the other end of the court.
Despite this, the lead was being hotly fought over, and it was only dying second confusion in the Lions defence that allowed Jaysean Paige to sneak a three pointer in to leave Newcastle ahead 20-17 going into the second.
The Lions soon made up for earlier mistakes, wresting the lead back to 22-23 with less than two minutes gone in the second quarter.
Difficulties under the basket soon came back to haunt the Lions though, typified by Brandon Peel grabbing a rebound from a Demonte Flannigan three point miss and struggling to get anything from it. Flannigan came into help, only to find he too couldn’t convert.
Two Peel free throws brought the game back to a tie, before Newcastle went on the offensive and built a 6 point lead by the end of the half. It could have been more, but a last second basket was ruled to be too late by the officials in a controversial end to the half.
The third quarter was much better play from the Lions, leaving Newcastle desperately trying to regroup.
With Defoe trying to protect Newcastle’s lead, the Lions started sensing they could win this, with Flannigan netting a beautiful alley-oop off a lovely Justin Robinson pass.
As the third quarter entered the final stretch Newcastle called timeout to regroup. It didn’t work and the Lions lead stretched into double figures (11 points).
The Lions had outscored Newcastle 15-32 in the third quarter, but as the fourth started there was no sense this had slowed the Eagles down.
As the quarter got underway, the Lions lead seemed to evaporate, with Will Hall judged to have fouled Saah Nimley sending him to the line to complete the four point play and tie the game at 68.
The Lions threw everything at keeping the Eagles at bay. Two superb slams from Newcastle were matched by a layup and a beautiful three from Justin Robinson.
But the clock was against the Lions and Newcastle took the game 85-79.
The Lions rush back to the Copper Box for BBL Cup action against Leeds on Sunday. Tip off is at 4pm.
Top scorers: Robinson (20), Flannigan (17), Latinovic (16)