BBL: London Lions 81 Sheffield Sharks 73
PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 January 2018
Double-doubles for Brandon Peel (22 points and 10 rebounds) and Jack Isenbarger (15 points, 12 rebounds) helped power the London Lions back to winning ways, after a festive period that has seen them lose two games and a head coach.
The 81-73 victory was a turnaround not just from recent form, but a trip to Sheffield earlier in the season which the Lions lost 83-73.
New head coach Vince Macaulay will be pleased that, despite occasional scrappy plays, the Lions quickly recovered their composure, something that has been lacking in previous games.
The Lions came out of the traps quickly, and put up five quick unanswered points.
Much of the early play was a result of hard work from Isenbarger, who started the game and rewarded coach Macaulay with outstanding effort on both ends of the court.
But if this was supposed to be an easy Lions victory, nobody had told Sheffield who quickly regrouped and came back fighting.
With just 15 seconds left in the first quarter the Sharks brought the game back to within two, before one of several strange technical foul calls was made, this time against the visitors, and Isenbarger converted the shot to end the quarter 16-13.
The second quarter was a much closer affair, with both sides exchanging bucket for bucket and slack period for slick period. But it didn’t start that way.
With just under two minutes gone, and a lovely lay-up from Justin Robinson, the score was 21-15 and Sheffield took a timeout to talk it over.
But with 29.9 seconds left in the half, the Lions wrestled the lead back, 35-32, before turning the ball over and allowing Sheffield an open look at a three-point shot.
They couldn’t make the most of the opportunity and the Lions went into the half having drawn the second quarter 19-19, leaving them ahead thanks to their first-quarter performance.
The third quarter was where it all came together for the Lions.
Again they pulled ahead while a sluggish Sheffield were struggling to get back into the game and with just under two minutes gone in the half, Sheffield had to call another timeout as London had built up a 43-32 lead.
It wouldn’t have the same result though as the Lions pulled still further ahead, finishing the quarter 63-50 up and smelling victory.
Sheffield threw everything at the Lions in the fourth quarter, which they won 23-18, but they couldn’t match the Lions who took the game and a much-needed win.
The Lions are back in action on Friday against Cheshire Phoenix. Tip off is at 7.30pm.