London Lions advance in tight BBL Trophy game against Leicester Riders

London Lions coach Vince Macaulay talks to his players (pic Graham Hodges)

London Lions coach Vince Macaulay talks to his players (pic Graham Hodges) - Credit: Archant

London Lions were up against a fired-up Riders side for the entire game but were able to battle it out, and came out on top in a nail biter, 76-71.

A low scoring affair for two sides that love to push the ball up the court quickly, with the Riders averaging 105 points over the last three games.

Everything that could go wrong for the Lions did right at the start of this BBL Trophy tie.

Orlando parker and Chris Tawiah had to be subbed off within the first three minutes of the game and the Lions were already down by double digits. However, they were both able to re-enter the game later on.

Geno Crandall, William Lee and Conner Washington were catalysts for the Leicester Riders and had the Lions on the back foot straight from the tip-off.

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Lee racked himself up a double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.  

The Lions slowly started to chip away at the Riders lead each quarter, Justin Robinson and Fahro Alihodzic were able to start running an effective pick and roll which the Riders had no answer for.

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The real story of the game though came from Josh Ward-Hibbert, a former Leicester Rider whose five points in the game could not have come at a better time. He sunk a corner three in front of his old bench to give the Lions a one-point lead and followed this up by hitting two free throws with twenty seconds to go, making it a one possession game.

The Lions then just needed one more defensive stop to reach the next stage of the BBL Trophy and they dug their heels in. 

They face the Newcastle Eagles in the next stage where they will no doubt be looking for revenge from their Cup Final defeat back in January.

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