Dolomiti Energia Trento 70-84 London Lions (24-20, 42-40, 56-62)
(Trento: Spagnolo/Atkins, 13; Flaccadori, 11; Lockett/Forray, 9 — Lions: Dekker, 23; Koufos, 14; Best/Zubcic, 12)
Trailing for the majority of the first half, London, who were sluggish and tired, burst into life in the third before saving their best for last.
And true to his namesake, Aaron Best hit two three-pointers in quick succession to give the rampant Lions a 73-61 lead with 4:39 left in the final quarter to seal a EuroCup double over the Italian side and improve to 5-6.
Sam Dekker led the Lions with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds, with Kosta Koufos adding his own with 14 points and 10 rebounds as London shot a sublime 47% from three-point land.
Youngster Matteo Spagnolo and Darion Atkins led Trento with 13 points each as they dropped to 2-9 in Group B.
Baskets by Dekker and Tomislav Zubcic gave London an early 7-4 lead in the opening stages as both teams started building up early fouls.
Thankfully the fouls dried up as the offence from both sides intensified. However, a mini-run from the hosts, led by Trent Lockett, gave Trento a 19-12 cushion with 3:44 remaining.
Luke Nelson hit back for the Lions only to be met by a three from Andrejs Grazulis, which gave the Italian side a 22-14 advantage, leaving coach Ryan Schmidt no choice but to call a timeout.
Dekker kept London ticking as he scored eight points in the opening ten minutes, with Josh Sharma scoring on the first-quarter buzzer, but the Lions trailed 24-20.
London would reduce the deficit to a single point in the opening possession of the second thanks to a three-point play from Jordan Taylor. A score from Sharma followed that to give the lead back to the visitors.
Not to be outdone, Trento regained the advantage and a bucket from Atkins, followed by a triple from Toto Forray, handed the hosts a 35-27 cushion mid-way through.
It was a frustrating second period for the Lions. They were desperately aiming to fight back, only to be met with immediate answers from their counterparts.
And after trailing by as many as ten points in the second, London’s fightback was on in the latter stages of the half, topped off by a three-pointer from Taylor to make it a one-possession game heading into the third.
After a strong start from the hosts to start the third, London hit back as Taylor tied the game at 46-46 with two minutes of the quarter played.
Back-to-back baskets from Koufos followed that as the Lions found their second wind, attacking Trento and securing their points from the foul line.
Trento hit back to tie the game at 54-54 through Forray and Lockett, only to be answered by a three from Zubcic as the visitors looked to stamp their authority back in the tie.
The BBL Cup finalists hit three triples in the period, outscoring Trento 22-14 to lead 62-56.
Trento put the pressure on the Lions to start the fourth, but London – through Dekker – managed to keep their lead at six points in the first three minutes of the fourth.
And with a feed from Taylor – his seventh of the game en route to eight overall – Best drilled a three to give London a 70-61 lead with 6:31 left, forcing a timeout from Trento.
Best, though, drilled a second three in quick succession to give London their first double-digit cushion of the game.
It proved to be the true turning point in the contest, as the Lions went on an 8-0 run to seal a massive road win.
There’s no time to breathe, though, for the Lions as they travel to Surrey Sports Park on Friday night to face the Scorchers in BBL Championship action. Be part of the action by clicking here.