BBL: London Lions 94 Worcester Wolves 90 (179-174 on agg)
PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 May 2018
London Lions will face Glasgow Rocks in the BBL play-off semi-finals on Thursday after a nailbiting double overtime win over Worcester at the Copper Box Arena on Sunday.
Just one point separated Lions and Wolves in the first leg on Friday and the teams were inseparable again for much of the return game.
The Lions looked like they’d be heading for an early exit with the visitors three points up and just 23 seconds of regular time left. But Paul Guede picked up the offensive rebound and captain Joe Ikhinmwin sunk the three points to keep them in it.
Justin Robinson took over duties in the second period of overtime, scoring six of the Lions eight points to guide them to a 94-90 win on the night and an aggregate score of 179-174.
A storming performance from Cory Dixon, whose double-double (29 points, 17 rebounds) was matched by his ability to rally the team and get up after an appalling foul that saw him land painfully on his back, had the entire Copper Box holding their breath.
After the fourth-quarter rally in the first leg, Worcester looked to get off the mark early and raced into a 10-2 lead, with only a lay-up from Robinson for the home side.
Dixon and Jon Thompson got to work at reducing the deficit and, with just over three minutes to go in the first quarter, a lay-up from Brandon Peel tied the game.
Worcester tried to come back, but the Lions were having none of it and, by the time the quarter ended, were ahead by four, after a beautiful slam dunk from Thompson.
The second quarter saw neither side able to stake out a proper lead but Dixon stepped up and nailed a spectacular jump shot off the assist of Andre Lockhart, to give the Lions a four-point lead with two minutes of the half left.
A foul on a three-point shot would see Worcester try to snatch the lead back before the break, but Peel and Robinson put four points up between them to see the Lions end the half up 42-37.
Worcester outscored the Lions in the third (16-18) before the hosts regrouped for a stronger fourth (16-11).
The first overtime saw Peel and Guede team up for five quick points before the Wolves were back at the line to even it up.
Robinson, fouled on the lay-up, added three but the Lions couldn’t make the most of a superb block from Dixon and with 33 seconds to go, the Wolves tied the game thanks to yet more free throws.
But with three seconds left and possession, they couldn’t do enough and the Lions had survived again.
The Lions took back control in the second overtime period as tiredness got the better of the Wolves and led to mistake after mistake, which London capitalised on.
Desperation fouling saw Robinson make four from four in the dying seconds of the game, and London had booked their place in the semi-finals.
The first leg is in east London on Thursday (May 10) with tip off at 7.30pm.