BBL Cup Semi-Ultimate
Bristol Flyers 79-97 London Lions (21-32, 15-20, 22-26, 21-19)
(Flyers: Olison, 17; Mahan, 16; Bell, 15 — Lions: Koufos, 24; Dekker, 20; Hruban, 18)
Kosta Koufos and Sam Dekker led the best way, with 24 and 20 factors, respectively, whereas Vojtech Hruban rounded out the massive three with 18 of his personal.
The Bristol Flyers are one in all simply two groups to have taken a recreation off the London Lions within the BBL Championship up to now this season.
In SGS School Area at the beginning of November, Bristol confirmed the guests that the season could be no stroll within the park, regardless of their expertise.
This meant the Lions had been out for revenge once they welcomed the Flyers to the Copper Field final weekend – they usually acquired it with a 35-point victory.
However once they met once more in Bristol a couple of days later, the stakes had been increased, as a spot within the BBL Cup Ultimate was at stake.
Lions head coach Ryan Schmidt reiterated this thought earlier than tip-off and mentioned: “We’ve acquired our work reduce out for us tonight. Friday meant completely nothing, it was one recreation out of 36 common season video games, however tonight is a knock-out recreation. It’s winner take all.”
London upgraded their expertise for the competition, as 7Days EuroCup veteran Jordan Taylor joined the group and instantly confirmed what he was able to, with 4 factors out of the gate.
Bristol got here again rapidly, because of Tevin Olison’s assault. Teammate Brandon Mahan stored them inside hanging distance when the group moved the ball across the perimeter to seek out the shooter open for an enormous three.
Whereas inbounding the ball, London’s Josh Sharma stepped over the road and turned it over.
The Flyers ran an out-of-timeout play to pop Mahan open for 3 once more, and he pulled them inside one level whereas forcing his Lions coach Ryan Schmidt to take a timeout.
It didn’t take lengthy for the Lions to go on a run, and the dimensions of the roster stood out whereas doing so.
Dekker, at 6’9, made probably the most of this when he acquired underneath the basket. The Flyers packed the paint, however his poise confirmed out – he waited for a beat till the defence retreated, then spun again baseline for an up-and-under layup.
Bristol scored two buckets for one within the ultimate 30 seconds to carry them inside 11 on the finish of the primary quarter.
London got here out of the break with a 3-2 zone that proved efficient, and on offence, they discovered Koufos on the low put up for a hook shot over Malcolm Delpeche.
Regardless of the twin-tower line-up of Koufos and Sharma, Bristol ahead Thomas Bell III obtained a high-low move reducing in direction of the rim and prevented the lengthy wingspans of the defenders for a troublesome layup.
Sharma took a seat after touchdown awkwardly on a dunk try.
Bell additionally slipped awkwardly on a bounce cease down the opposite finish a couple of possessions later, however the Lions made the a lot of the five-on-four alternative, and Koufos acquired a transition layup, plus the free throw foul shot.
This opened the hole again as much as 14, and after a handful of unforced turnovers, Dekker pushed it to 16 on a quick break layup.
To cease the sport from slipping away too far because the half got here to an in depth, Mahan broke free once more within the nook for his third three-point shot.
Hruban managed a layup earlier than the half up the opposite finish to go into the locker room 52-36.
Dekker opened up the second-half scoring after a affected person London offence labored the ball round to get Bristol’s defence out of place. He obtained a move from Taylor to hit from distance.
A horns-high double display screen for Taylor noticed the guard take Koufos because the display screen. The massive man dove because the ball moved to the opposite screener, Tomislav Zubcic, on the high of the important thing and fired a move inside. Koufos obtained the ball in a deep put up place and rose for a simple hook shot to push the result in 20 factors.
The Lions maintained a swarming defence, which pressured the Flyers into tough pictures.
This wasn’t an issue for Mahan, who hit his fourth straight pull-up three, and Ollison joined him on the subsequent possession.
Bell adopted this by chasing his personal miss to attain off an offensive rebound and cut back the hole to 19.
It was pushed again to twenty on the ultimate play of the day. Taylor confirmed his expertise managing the shot clock, getting open and floating the ball as much as Koufos, who stored the ball excessive for a end on the rim.
Mahan stored the recent capturing going as he scored one other three on the high of the arc to chop the Lions’ result in 16, and Delpeche adopted this up by working the ground after a London miss for a dunk of his personal.
London’s offence slowed its motion for a couple of consecutive possessions, however towards defence like Bristol’s, they’ll make you pay.
Inside a couple of brief performs, the Flyers turned the ball over a number of occasions and flew up the courtroom to chop the hole to 11 with 4 minutes to go, which ignited the house crowd.
Bristol’s momentum was interrupted by a superb rebound by Koufos. He noticed two Lions leaking out and threw a move to Zubcic at halfcourt, who discovered Mo Soluade reducing to the rim for a three-second offence and a straightforward layup.
Koufos was the person down the stretch. When the London offence was gradual with two minutes left, he took the ball from the highest of the important thing, shimmied and shook his means into the lane for 2.
Then, a Bristol turnover discovered its strategy to Dekker, who noticed the massive man working forward and located Koufos for an open dunk and a 15-point lead, which grew to 18 by the tip of the competition.
The win was hard-fought, however the Lions confirmed their enamel on this Cup Semi-Ultimate to safe a spot at Birmingham’s Utilita Area in January.
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