Photo Credit: Carol Moir.
The London Lions beat the Worcester Wolves 82 – 65 at the Copper Box Arena on Friday night in the BBL Championship to remain unbeaten at home this season.
Both sides were looking to bounce back having split their opening weekends, winning at home but losing on the road as Matthew Bryan Amaning, the star of the noisy neighbours watched on from courtside.
Lions broke the early deadlock after two minutes of play through Flo Larkai, and Jerelle Okoro used his explosiveness to open his account for the night with a tough basket to double the early advantage. Mike Servera got Worcester’s night going on the score sheet with a deep three to set the tone for a very back and forth game of basketball.
Filip Kramer got inside to throw down a two-handed jam to give the Wolves their first lead of the contest and got his bench off their feet.
Lions import Ladarius Tabb forced his way to the line thanks to his scarcely believable energy and hustle pulling down offensive boards to edge the Lions back in front.
Tabb ended the first quarter with a monster two-handed jam off a shovel pass from Flo Larkai at the period buzzer to give the Lions a 16-13 advantage. Tabb would end the game with 30 points and 9 boards, collecting 8 and 5 in the opening term.
Wolves started hot in the second quarter with Mike Servera scoring a field goal followed by a Robert Crawford triple but Lions’ wunderkind Jordan Spencer would cool things with a trip to the line after three quick-fire fouls by the Wolves in the opening 2 minutes. Spencer tied things the contest with two from the line.
Kervin Bristol, having enjoyed a full week of training with the Lions, threw down a monster jam in the second quarter, but whatever the Lions were doing the Wolves would reel them in. The sides traded three-pointers with Crawford and Robinson going back to back from deep before Robinson showed off his MVP winning inside skill elevating to push the Lions lead to 30-25 at the midway point in the quarter.
The remainder of the second was scrappy as the Lions would only add two points at the end of the period, two free throws by Peel after a desperation foul on him by two Wolves defenders.
The Lions came out ready to play in the second half, adding 26 third-quarter points as they looked to kill off any chance the Wolves had at leaving the Copper Box with the win.
With Crawford and Thoseby nullified by close Lions defence, Ladarius Tabb was able to go off in the third period for 14 points as the athletic big man made the game his own. Okoro, who helped build the early pressure with a picture perfect two-handed slam, played excellent selfless basketball. The Lions held a lead as high as 15 points were tagged back thanks to numerous trips to the line for the Wolves late in the quarter to going into the final break 58-48.
Early in the final term, Darell Combs brought the gap back to single figures for the Wolves as he continued to general them as he had done all night.
In spite of his best efforts, the Wolves struggled to make headway as Spencer got hot from outside, sinking two triples before setting up an easy layup for Bristol with a bounce pass on the pick and roll in a period of play that effectively iced the game. The Wolves were starting to have empty trips to the line, which the Lions were more than happy with as their lead stretched once again and the remainder of the contest was an entertaining back and forth trading of baskets with the Lions comfortably in control.