Newcastle Eagles 85-88 London Lions (27-31, 50-47, 70-65)
(Eagles: Hamlet, 30; Gordon, 16; Defoe, 13 — Lions: Dekker, 17; Zubcic/Taylor, 15; Best, 13)
Leicester Riders 84-81 Caledonia Gladiators (22-16, 43-39, 63-59)
(Riders: Mackenzie, 25; Walshe, 15; Loving, 13 — Gladiators: Sloan/Durham, 22; Malcolm, 14; Alihodzic, 8)
Bristol Flyers 99-60 Plymouth City Patriots (25-7, 54-20, 71-40)
(Flyers: Olison, 23; Mahan, 19; King, 14 — Patriots: Brandon, 12; Bissainthe, 11; Hawthorne Jr., 10)
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 70-65 Surrey Scorchers (16-8, 33-27, 50-43)
(Sharks: Ratinho, 16; Nichols/Ramsey, 13; Nelson, 9 — Scorchers: Johnson, 21; McFolley, 18; Ogedengbe, 10)
London Lions are one step closer to the BBL Championship but left it late to beat Newcastle Eagles 88-85 at Vertu Motors Arena on Friday night.
Having led for the majority of the game from the second quarter, Eagles came undone by a 10-0 run by the Lions in the latter stages of the game, which ultimately sealed the win.
Newcastle did have a chance to take the game to overtime, but David Cohn’s long three smacked the backboard and out.
Sam Dekker paced London with 17 points, cancelling out Javion Hamlet’s 30-point explosion for Newcastle.
The visitors got off to the best possible start as five quick points from Jordan Taylor, followed by a score inside from Dekker gave London a 7-0 advantage.
The Eagles, fighting for the eighth spot in the post-season, hit back with a burst of their own as Hamlet connected under the basket to reduce the deficit to two points.
London’s skillset and experience was enough to maintain the lead throughout the first period, leading by as many as eight points only to be pegged back by the hosts.
And a three-pointer from Jermel Kennedy as the final seconds ticked by gave Newcastle momentum going into the second, but they still trailed by four.
The deficit was quickly turned on its head in the second as a 10-3 start from the Eagles handed them their first lead with a jumper from Darius Defoe – on his 570th game in the BBL – raising the roof at the Vertu Motors Arena.
However, the Lions got their lead back briefly midway through the period as Taylor slid a pass inbetween the legs of Defoe to feed Jonathan Komagum for the easy finish.
Not to be deterred though, the hosts hit back and managed to take a three-point cushion at the half.
It didn’t take the league leaders long though to take the lead…
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