BBL: London Lions 93 Plymouth 84
PUBLISHED: 12:30 05 April 2018
A first half double-double for Brandon Peel (22 points, 13 rebounds) helped power the London Lions to their sixth league win in a row, against Plymouth at the Copper Box on Wednesday.
The Lions took the game by a nine-point margin, but in truth it could have been more with Plymouth looking more like the side that had played five games in a week, while the Lions looked fresh and in control.
Justin Robinson (24 points) was the top scorer for the Lions, while Cory Dixon put up 14 points despite having been in foul trouble for much of the first half.
The home side were slow on the ball in the opening minutes, allowing easy defensive rebounds and Plymouth took advantage, putting up five easy points before the Lions got on the score sheet.
An early timeout and a trip to the line for Jon Thompson helped, before Peel stepped up and made it 5-4.
Plymouth still looked to be in control though, with Robinson having to make a deep three to keep the scores at 8-7.
Another Peel jump shot, followed by a Dixon lay-up, saw the Lions back in front and Dixon was back in action soon after, with a last-gasp save of the basket before powering it up the court to Peel who made the lay-up to give the Lions a 14-8 lead with half the first quarter remaining.
That was the last real chance Plymouth had to take the game as by the end of the first quarter, the Lions had taken a 0-5 start and turned it into a 27-17 lead, partly thanks to two back-to-back three-point makes for Paul Guede.
The second period started with the sides trading buckets but that wouldn’t help Plymouth who just couldn’t eat into the Lions lead – a lead that Jerelle Okoro made 13 points with a deep three towards the middle of the second quarter.
Plymouth’s coach had seen enough and called timeout, but it didn’t seem to help matters as London kept piling on the points.
With just under two minutes and 30 seconds left of the half, the Lions – and Peel specifically – were in control.
Five quick points took the lead to 18, before a Lamar Roberts foul allowed Plymouth to bring it back to 16, which is how it would stay over the half break – 44-28.
As the teams ran out for the second half, the result felt like a foregone conclusion, which would leave the remaining 20 minutes a little flat, were it not for Peel, who posted up several highlight reel worthy plays including an incredible three point shot that had to be seen to be believed.
At the end of the third the lead was up to 72-52 and the minds of the Lions seemed to be wandering to the weekend and the important match against Sheffield.
This allowed Plymouth to exploit London and put up a 32-21 quarter but the damage had been done and, by the time Peel swatted away a Plymouth attempt in style, the home side were 83-67 ahead with 4.51 left in the game.
The game limped on for another five minutes before giving way to the inevitable and the Lions taking the points.
The next game for the Lions is an away trip to Sheffield on Saturday, before returning to the Copper Box on April 15 to take on Worcester. Tip is at 4pm.