BBL Semi Final 1st Leg: London Lions Wounded Pride
The Leicester Riders have one foot in the final of the BBL Play-Offs following a comprehensive 71-90 victory over the London Lions at the Copper Box Arena.
The Lions went toe to toe with the reigning champs through three-quarters, but the Riders strong final quarter saw them take a sizable advantage into the second leg to be played Sunday 7th May.
Despite being within two points in the third, the visitors showed their championship pedigree as they held the hosts to just eight points in the crucial final quarter.
Riders point guard Brandon Clark was the game’s stand-out performer with 21 points and ten assists. The Riders strength in depth and a balanced attack was clear to see, with four others scoring double digits. Defensively Rider’s small forward Taylor King dominated the paint with 16 rebounds as well as scoring 14 points.In the fourth quarter we broke down mentally”
After a frantic first quarter, the Lions found themselves down by five points, and this was extended to a seven-point deficit at the break.
The hosts played their best basketball in the third, as they managed to claw back within two points at 62-64. However, poor free throw shooting and a lack of support from the bench saw them struggle down the stretch as Leicester scored 11 uncontested points.
Lions guard Zaire Talyor was the game’s highest scorer with 23 points, but the former league MVP lacked support.
After tonight's game, starter Alex Owumi was evidently crestfallen citing the team's frail mentality in the critical fourth quarter as the key reason for defeat.
As a veteran of the BBL, Owumi is more than aware that the Lions have it all to do in Sunday's second leg.