Rampant London breeze past Slask Wroclaw

7Days EuroCup

London Lions 97-80 Slask Wroclaw
(Lions: Dekker, 18; Nelson, 16; Soko, 15 — Wroclaw: Martin, 18; Justice, 15; Morgan, 14)

London Lions eventually eased to a 97-80 EuroCup, Group B win over reigning Polish Basketball League champions Slask Wroclaw at the CopperBox Arena on Wednesday night.

With the game still all to play for heading into the final quarter, London, who had led for the majority, put the game beyond doubt with a 13-0 run, littered with highlight plays to keep the 18-time champions of Poland winless in Group B.

Lions, led by 18 points from Sam Dekker and 16 from Great Britain international Luke Nelson improve to 3-3.

“I’m happy that we’re going in the right direction,” said Lions coach Ryan Schmidt afterward.

“After the FIBA window, we have come back with a renewed focus, we have picked things up on the offensive end and these guys are doing a great job of playing together.

“We take each game as it comes but happy with this win tonight.”

Jeremiah Martin led Slask Wroclaw with 18 points.

After missing their first three shots, London recovered to post 14 unanswered points while holding their counterparts scoreless for four minutes.

The hosts maintained their double-digit advantage for most of the first ten minutes until a floater from Kodi Justice reduced the deficit to 23-15 with 2:22 remaining.

But thanks to eight first-quarter points from Nelson, the Lions enjoyed a 25-18 cushion.

And London managed to get their double-digit lead back in the early stages of the second quarter thanks to scores from Vojtech Hruban, Dekker and Soko as they capitalised on sloppy offence from their Polish counterparts.

London, who relied on their long-range shooting in the first, switched to their devastating transition game as Miye Oni broke through the Slask defence to slam it home, only for Conor Morgan to respond with a one-hand jam along the baseline.

And as the second period wore on, the visitors chipped away at the Lions’ lead with a three-pointer from Aleksander Dziewa, highlighted a 13-0 run for Slask to narrow the gap to 45-43.

Aaron Best snapped the run with a three from the top, and as a result, Lions took a narrow 48-45 lead at the half.

In need of the half-time break, London came out with a 10-2 run to start the third, with Nelson hitting four in that spell to create some breathing space between the two teams.

London, backed by a raucous home crowd looked comfortable, but static offence replaced the fluid game they had played in the early stages and coach Schmidt was forced into a timeout with his side leading 63-58 with 2:13 remaining.

A timely three from Mo Soluade was just what Lions needed out of the timeout and as time wound down, a turnaround from Soko looked to give the hosts an eight-point lead heading into the fourth.

Justice though responded with a three on the buzzer to give Slask Wroclaw hope going into the final ten minutes.

That hope was dashed as a rampant London side went on a 13-0 burst, with two highlight slams from Oni and Dekker sending the Lions faithful into a frenzy.

More importantly though, it handed the Lions their third win from six games in Group B, as they prepare for a quick turnaround tomorrow (Thursday) night against Manchester Giants, a game you can see on the BBL YouTube channel from 7:30pm.

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