London Lions vs Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
(15-29, 39-53, 60-69, 78-87)
Lions; Dekker 15, Best 15, Soko 13 – Buducnost; Bell-Haynes 21, Kaba 16, White 15
The London Lions took on Montenegrin side Buducnost Voli Podgoricaat at the OVO Arena Wembley Tuesday evening. Buducnost who currently sit atop Group B in the EuroCup took control of the game early on. Having recently lost to FMI on Saturday, the group leaders built a 12-point lead in the first quarter. Despite a few electrifying runs from the Lions, Buducnost were able to hold on for the win.
Dekker drew the first foul of the game; hitting one of two at the line – before Cameron Reynolds hit a three-pointer for the visitors. Key to Buducnost’s first quarter onslaught was Alpha Kaba, the French-Guinean power forward scoring eight of his 16 points in the opening minutes. Canadian national Trae Bell-Haynes also impressed at the guard position, scoring eight points and dishing out four assists in the period.
The Lions were led by Dekker who recently returned from injury to sink two jumpshots on route to 15 points in the game.
Buducnost connected on eight of their ten 2PT Field goals in the first half; whereas the Lions found most of their success on the fast break – athletic wing combo Sam Dekker and Ovie Soko being the major beneficiaries.
Later in the quarter, Lions guard Aaron White used a nifty inside-out dribble to set up a left-handed finish and followed it up with a huge dunk on the next possession to give the Lions a much-needed first quarter boost.
In the second quarter, Buducnost continued to build their lead up to 16 with Cameron Reynolds and Bell-Haynes scoring. Lions were resilient and always looked capable of a run. Ovie Soko was effective slashing to the basket; scoring an and-one and finishing a floater.
However, the Group B leaders showed composure through a finely worked possession resulting in a huge dunk for White. Zubcic got on the scoreboard for the Lions with his first three-pointer of the night before a Nelson jumper brought the lead down to 14.
After a Buducnost timeout, Bell-Haynes finished off a beautiful up and under move – converting the three-point play. Weaving through gaps in the defence, Dekker responded with a two-handed dunk. Josh Ward-Hibbert also scored in his first Euro Cup game – sinking two free throws to close out the half. London Lions trailed 39 – 53.
In the second half, veteran big man Marko Jagodic-Kuridza converted on a three-point play. Whilst at the other end Dekker found Zubcic in the corner for three – following this up with a turnaround jumper of his own. Nelson, who had 5 assists in the game threw up an alley-oop to Josh Sharma – bringing the Lions within 12 points.
Lions continued to chip away at the lead with Aaron Best proving to be unstoppable in the semi-transition game. However it was Buducnost’s Peta Popovich who responded with a three-pointer that held the Lions at bay. Sharma was particularly impressive in the fourth quarter, finishing an alley-oop from Dekker and picking up a block at the other end. Again the away team found their mark from three – this time from Bell-Haynes, who took his personal total to 21 points.
The final score finished 78 – 87 with Buducnost picking up the victory.