London Lions won at home to newly crowned Champions Leicester Riders as Navid Niktash racked up 25 points in an 111-88 victory.
Niktash finished the game shooting an outstanding 62 percent from behind the three-point line while the League’s leader in scoring, Rashad Hassan, poured in 22 points shooting 78 percent.
The Lions showed up to play on the night with the team recording an impressive 61 percent field goal overall, shooting 67 percent from two-point range and locking down a superb 54 percent from the three-point line.
Coach Nigel Lloyd’s squad hit the floor against the Riders, who had a few key players missing, with high intensity in the first quarter and did a thoroughly professional job to close out the first quarter, 29-19 to the good.
Contributions from all five starters for the Lions helped edge them over their opponents heading into the second quarter, Lions’ forwards, Rashad Hassan and Niktash combined for 18-points in the first quarter with Kai Williams and Alex Owumi adding three-pointers of their own.
Leicester fought back in the second quarter with the Lions conceding a number of fouls in the first half outscoring them 28-21. Conner Washington sparked a comeback scoring nine points for the Riders with late free throws narrowing the deficit to three points to 50-47.
A whopping 18 fouls on the Lions to just 6 on the visitors had made the game bitty and broken up which suited Coach Rob Paternostro and his men.
The Riders comeback was unsuccessful with Lions coming off the bench and stepping up with both guards, Kevin Moyo and Andre Lockhart combining for nine points. Niktash carried on his hot streak into the second adding eight points.
Heading to the third quarter, the Lions didn’t disappoint and built a comfortable lead with a superb shooting display from beyond the arc.
Hassan was a force to be reckoned with scoring eight in the low post, while Alex Owumi found his groove late in the third, scoring seven points to help the Lions to an 82-65 lead.
London’s efforts in the final quarter proved to be too much for the Riders with Lions players closing out and making strong defensive plays.
Owumi ignited the flame he started in the third quarter helping the Lions to run away with the lead scoring, and Hassan was still going to work, scoring six points.
The Lions will play Cheshire Phoenix on Friday at the Copper Box in the last regular season home game.
On Friday, Worcester Wolves continued their winning streak with a 94-90 victory over London Lions making it 12 straight wins in all competitions.
Marek Klassen led his side with a 26-point haul as the Wolves edged closer to securing a top-three finish in the league.
The Wolves made a bright start as they took control in the opening period before the Lions took the lead in the second with a 12-2 run, capped as Joe Ikhinmwin slammed on Klassen.
A 9-2 response put the home side back ahead and they would lead 46-39 at the half. Lions had been on the rough end of the referee’s calls with two unsportsmanlike fouls and a technical.
Paul James’ side pushed on in the third to increase their lead to beyond double-figures as they had the better of the third, leading 73-62.
The gap was as large as 13 early in the fourth, but the Lions came storming back, despite 28 free throws for the home side, three-pointers from Zaire Taylor and Kai Williams helped them grab an 85-86 advantage.
The Lions needed a stop to put further pressure on the Wolves, this they got on a Zeiglar miss, but they couldn’t secure the rebound, the resultant effort was a three-pointer for Wolves’ Navajas. It was a back breaker, despite fine scores from Hassan and Williams the game went the way of the home side, 94-90.