BBL: London Lions 93 Surrey Scorchers 78
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 October 2017
After lifting silverware at the O2 Arena and a convincing opening win in Worcester, it was back to the Copper Box on Sunday night for the London Lions.
And it was a return that more than lived up to expectations, with the home side claiming victory in a game that had so many good plays it would leave the highlight reel bursting.
Lions started the game strongly, quickly building a seven-point lead largely thanks to impressive work between new star signing Justin Robinson and Momcilo Latinovic.
As former Lion Alex Owumi helped the visitors from long range, Brandon Peel was right back at it, rescuing an errant shot to build the lead back up to five.
Fan favourite Joe Ikhinmwin was hot from behind the line as the Lions lead started climbing again, but the Scorchers kept fighting, only to be frustrated by a strong home defence as the first quarter ended 27-19.
Lions went into the second quarter determined and the depth and quality of the roster gave the Scorchers plenty of headaches.
The home side’s defence wasn’t consistently strong, but whenever the visitors tried to come back, it was always answered emphatically.
As the clock ticked towards half time you sensed Surrey were desperately throwing everything at preventing the game being over by the midway mark.
Lions, however, were having fun and at the end of the half the 48-31 scoreline betrayed the fact that Surrey seemed deflated and there appeared no way back.
Others might have settled for a 17-point lead, but one of the impressive things about the Lions is the sheer effort that each member of the team puts in.
Play after play, beautiful shot after beautiful shot went in, with equal amounts of hard work on the defensive end, which led to the lead ballooning to 62-36 with 6.08 left in the third.
There was still no rest for a Surrey team who looked as if they were totally beaten and the quarter ended with the Lions cruising comfortably at 75-48.
The fourth quarter didn’t live up to the previous three for the Lions as their frustration with the officiating boiled over, with repeated technical fouls being issued.
This culminated in bizarre scenes as the Lions coach was ejected from the game for his second technical foul, but despite a deflating end, nothing could take away from the players who seemed to be really enjoying playing with each other in a team that has serious amounts of promise.
Next up for the Lions are the Manchester Giants on Friday (October 6), with the tip at 7.30pm.
Lions: Flannigan 19, Robinson 15, Latinovic 13, Peel 11, Lockhart 9, Hall 7, Ikhinmwin 7, Lanegger 5, Isenbarger 5, Guede 2, Roberts, James.