BBL: London Lions 94 Surrey Scorchers 71
PUBLISHED: 12:53 25 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:53 25 March 2018
A 28-point haul from Brandon Peel saw the London Lions bounce back from defeat against Glasgow in style, demolishing local rivals the Surrey Scorchers at the Copper Box.
Peel, who deservedly took man of the match honours, netted a double double, with 28 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks.
The emphatic nature of the victory couldn’t have come at a better time for the Lions, who go into a packed Easter weekend that see them play five home games in a week.
This is on top of losing captain Joe Ikhinmwin, who is representing England at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The Lions, whose shooting struggles had been so evident against Glasgow, came out fighting, with a superb long-range shot from Corey Dixon – one of ten the Lions would make from just 17 attempts.
The early stages of the game would see back and forth as both sides tried to get an early advantage, before Peel seized the initiative and made two quick jump shots to give the home side a five-point lead.
That lead would be maintained thanks to an outstanding alley-oop from Jon Thompson and Paul Guede then took over shooting duty, with two quick shots from behind the arc to build the lead to six, with former Lion Alex Owumi valiantly trying to keep the lead under control.
Dzarflo Larkai made a jump shot to take the lead into double figures with three minutes left of the first quarter. It would remain that way, at 27-17 going into the first break.
Surrey immediately set to work cutting into the lead, but the Lions were having none of it.
Thompson made the best of a terrible Surrey pass, with Andre Lockhart easily taking advantage for the two points, and another three-point shot from Guede took the lead back into double figures.
From then it just kept building as Okoro knocked in a three to take it to 17, while two free throws by Owumi were quickly cancelled out at the other end of the court by Justin Robinson.
With seconds to go in the half, Surrey snatched two points back to bring the Lions back to a 14-point lead at 44-30.
If the Lions have anything to learn from this game it will be in the third quarter, which they lost by six points.
It started well and, by the time Peel took the lead to 18, all seemed good for a home win. But within a minute and a half, that was down to an eight-point lead and things would get worse as the Lions were punished for sloppiness.
With 1.20 to go in the third quarter, the lead was cut to just three, before Peel stepped up with a lay-up to compliment a made free throw from Robinson to take the lead back to six.
With 17 seconds left in the quarter, Peel did it again to take the lead to eight. The Lions had weathered the storm.
It was Surrey who would collapse in the final quarter, only managing 13 points against 28 from the Lions, with the home team taking the series and some very valuable points.
The Lions are next in action in Manchester, before returning to the Copper Box to face Leeds on Thursday (March 29). Tip-off is at 7.30pm.