BBL: London Lions 80 London City Royals 63
PUBLISHED: 13:18 15 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:50 15 December 2018
London Lions earned the capital bragging rights in their first-ever meeting with London City Royals at the Copper Box Arena on Friday.
The home side continued their strong start to the BBL season to improve to 10-2, ahead of Sunday’s Copper Box meeting with Sheffield, while the newcomers dropped to 5-4 ahead of their trip to Plymouth Raiders.
A huge London crowd came out to see the best British basketball players in the country and Matthew Bryan-Amaning duly got proceedings under way with a slam dunk for the visitors to start the game.
League MVP Justin Robinson replied with a triple and a pulsating first quarter bristled with excitement, although both teams were a little tight as it ended 16-16.
The Lions would steal the lead at the half-time break on a pair of free throws to go 36-35 up at the end of a high energy first half with errors on both sides but full on no-holds-barred effort.
In the third quarter, the Lions poise and organisation began to shine through as the mercurial Robinson was influencing his team-mates with first Jordan Spencer hitting a triple then Kervin Bristol rising high to hit a 15-footer.
The Royals were looking hurried, a little too much one-on-one, and Ladarius Tabb – on his way to 23 points and 17 rebounds – simply punished them on every Lions’ fast break, while Spencer hit another triple to close the quarter with the Lions leading 62-57.
The fourth quarter saw the result of the Lions’ relentless running, as Royals tired, with Bristol and Tabb blocking shots.
The Lions’ would hold the visitors to just six points in the quarter and used that momentum to pull away with a 14-0 close as Robinson iced the win from the free throw line.
Scorers, Lions: Tabb 23, Spencer 17, Robinson 17, Peel 10, Bristol 8, Okoro 4, Lockhart 1, Guede 0, Larkai 0, Ikhinmwin 0.
Royals: Bryan-Amaning 12, Hamilton 11, Dusha 8, Lucas 8, Jackman 6, Neighbour 6, Toluwase 5, Dang Akodo 4, Ohuaregbe 3, Roberts 0.