BBL Cup: Worcester 92 London Lions 67
PUBLISHED: 15:48 21 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:48 21 September 2019
Short-handed London Lions fell on the road to Worcester Wolves in the opening pool game of the revamped BBL Cup on Friday.
The defending champion found out before tip off that international clearance for point guard Jorge Romero had not arrived at Basketball England headquarters and so he would be forced to sit out the game.
Meanwhile, visa issues had delayed the arrival of centre Trent Weaver who met his teammates on the bus to Worcester straight from Gatwick Airport.
A tight first quarter saw the Lions take to the floor without their usual pace and penetration as positions shifted.
The visitors were late on closing out to three point shooters and allowed the hosts to lead 28-24 at the end of the first quarter,
Coach Vince Macaulay implored his charges to step up the defence but still Worcester's guards proved hot from behind the arc.
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Brandon Peel kept the scoreboard ticking on his way to a half time double-double, so whilst baskets came the defence was a sign of things to come.
Lions were the best defensive team in the League last term and that is clearly an area that will need to be addressed.
As if that was not bad enough for Lions coaching staff, the offence dried up in the third quarter as they could only garner a paltry eight points whilst Worcester opened up a 72-50 lead going into the final stanza.
Further Wolves triples from Kofi Josephs and Mark Hughes sealed the game as the Lions lost by a wide margin.
Peel finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds whilst League MVP Justin Robinson added 18 on 50 per cent shooting, but more will be expected from the Lions supporting cast.
Macaulay said: "We were never at the races and the defence we displayed was as bad as I have seen from a Lions team. There is plenty to address, getting Jorge and Weaver plugged in for one but also re-establishing our identity."
Lions: Peel 30, Robinson 18, Allen-Jordan 6, Whelan 6, Lockhart 3, Jackson 2, Ikhinmwin 2, Weaver 0, Harrison 0, Johnson 0.