London Lions continued their hunt for sixth place in the BBL Championship as they blew away Bristol Flyers early on to set up a 78-65 win – a first road win in seven, although it is their second double-digit win in Bristol of the campaign.
Lions were led by two big double-doubles: 19 points and 10 assists from point guard Nick Lewis, and 10 points with 11 rebounds from Demond Watt.
And both of those two scored in a 13-0 opening, all five of London’s starters registering in a run that was capped by Alex Owumi’s three-pointer, as they held their hosts scoreless for nearly five minutes. Kai Williams, Nick Lewis and Zach Gachette all added triples in the first quarter and, in one of the best ten minute spells of any team this season, they won the opening period 26-4.
Flyers, the lowest-scoring team in the BBL, netted only three times in the opening eleven minutes and would never get back to within single figures, Lions punishing them with 22 points from the 14 turnovers they forced in the game.
Gachette and Owumi added further three-pointers in a second stanza burst of nine unanswered to send the lead through thirty at 39-9, and it stayed of that magnitude until the half time break.
Lions had their own barren spell in the second half, scoring just 10 points in the third quarter, and that gave the hosts some hope as they initially trimmed the lead when Mathias Seilund hit a three-pointer and Doug McLaughlin-Williams scored two triples in a row to make the score 59-36.
The hosts had a go late on, winning the fourth quarter comfortably, but they could only get as close as the final score when Jordan Ranklin finished the game off with a three-pointer. Lewis, with nine points in the fourth quarter, had kept the Lions ticking over and they cruised home.
It sets up a big final game of the season for Lions, as they host league champions, Leicester Riders, on Sunday. Lions will secure sixth spot as long as they match Cheshire Phoenix’s result against Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, courtesy of having the head-to-head with Cheshire.
Bristol Flyers 65 (4,23,41) (Seilund 16, Lee 14, Tinsley 10)
London Lions 78 (26,53,63) (Lewis 19, K. Williams 14, Owumi 13