The London Lions were victorious at the Copper Box Arena once again as they defeated a brave Cheshire Phoenix side on Friday ahead of their upcoming busy away stretch.
Justin Robinson led the scoring with 21 points, whilst Cory Dixon (18), Brandon Peel and Paul Guede (16) all tallied double-digit scoring figures during the capital city side’s triumph.
On a night after the NBA put on a show at the O2 Arena, both clubs arrived with a view to put the BBL in the limelight in-front of an energetic Friday night crowd.
“This is the time where you want to be playing your best basketball and push towards the playoffs and make a run,” said Lions power forward Joe Ikhinmwin.
They didn’t disappoint. Early on, both clubs traded three-pointers; setting the tone of the match up. But it was the home side, however, who ultimately proved as too strong, running out to a 24-19 lead in the first quarter.
With Robinson pulling the strings at the point, and Dixon providing the power, the second quarter continued in the same fashion with the Lions running to a healthy lead. But not before the Phoenix rallied back to leave the half at a tight 40-38.
It was in the third quarter where the game looked to be over, as the Lions defence came up big, whilst their offense flourished on the other end, Vince Macaulay’s men cruised to a 64-51 lead.
Into the fourth, and the Lions began to take their feet off the pedal with the away side rallying back to take a shock 78-76 lead over the London side. It was short-lived, the crowd spurred on a swift response that led the Lions fight back and advance to an 86-81 win over a valiant Phoenix side.
Lions starlet and UEL scholar Ikhinmwin was overjoyed with the win:
“I’m ecstatic. Happy is an understatement, it’s a great win short-handed – great performance by everyone on the roster.”
The Lions continued with their resilience on every Phoenix attack.
“I’m proud of the team. It’s tough playing against such a competitive side, they never gave up – kept fighting back, but we held them back every time they made a push,” said the forward.
Next up for the Lions starlet is a return to UEL.
“Training has started again [at SportsDock] and UEL is my home away from the copper box, so it’s always good to be down there,” he said.
The Lions now face a four-game road trip.