The London Lions bounced back from Sunday’s lost with a hard fought from behind victory against the Leicester Riders 76-71 on Thursday night, in the first round of the BBL Trophy.
It what was a very tense and competitive game at the Copper Box Arena, the lions trailed for most of the game but a strong finish from star players Justin Robinson and Dirk Williams each leading the cause with 15 points gave the Lions victory and set up quarter-final fixture against holders Newcastle Eagles.
Another slow start from the Lions saw them trail 18-6 after seven minutes but Justin Robinson's three pointer helped them fight their way back into the game, and Kevin Ware reduced the deficit to 20-13 at the first break.
In the second quarter a good start saw Williams make it a one-point game after five minutes, only to see the Riders reel off seven straight points before Williams hit the trey to cut Riders' lead to 36-30 going into the locker room.
The Lions started strongly in the 3rd quarter and got to within four points early in the second half, only for the Leicester Riders to then reel off nine straight points. The Lions finally kicked into gear and produced a fightback and a barrage of three pointers took Lions ahead for the first time only for the Riders to push back and they went into the final break 52-51 ahead.
Kevin Ware put the Lions back up by a point from the foul line to open the fourth period but it was nip and tuck all the way as Robinson's triple tied things at 69 a piece with two minutes on the clock. Johnson put the visitors back up by two with a minute remaining but Josh Ward-Hibbert drained a triple, in front of his previous club, and Riders failed to score again as Lions wrapped up the win at the foul line.
The Lions now travel away and hope there isn’t any heart break as they play Plymouth Raiders on valentine day and hope to enact revenge for last Sundays defeat. The Lions are next at home on the 5th March against the Bristol Flyers