Lions battle however lose out to Hapoel Tel Aviv


 London Lions 93-95 Hapoel Tel Aviv (30-27, 28-21, 17-17, 18-30)(Lions: Dekker; 29, Taylor; 19, Zubcic; 19 – Hapoel: McRae; 24, Brown; 18, Onuaku; 10) 

London Lions suffered Wembley heartbreak as they misplaced 95-93 to Israeli giants Hapoel Tel Aviv in a EuroCup, Group B conflict on Wednesday night time. The Lions dropped to 4-6 within the group as they got here agonisingly shut in opposition to the extremely skilled Tel Aviv aspect, who had been cheered on by a raucous travelling crowd. 

Nonetheless, former Washington Wizards star Jordan McRae had different concepts. The guard was unstoppable – scoring 36 factors on 81% capturing from contained in the paint.  McRae mentioned: “It was a complete staff effort – we fought exhausting, by no means gave up and saved taking part in exhausting.” 

The Lions, nonetheless taking part in with out the injured Ovie Soko, regarded like the higher staff by a lot of the recreation. However massive performs down the stretch from Onuaku and particularly McRae had been the distinction. 

The Lions bought wonderful manufacturing from Sam Dekker with a season-high 29 factors and Jordan Taylor with 19 factors and 9 assists. London began very sturdy with a 7-0 run – wanting assured taking part in at Wembley for the second time within the EuroCup. 

Luke Nelson scores on a drive to open the proceedings – earlier than Kosta Koufos backed his man down and spun to the basket for 2.  McRae was the primary Hapoel participant to get on the scoreboard – pulling down his first three-pointer earlier than Dekker answered with 4 fast factors of his personal. Tomislav Zubcic and Taylor splashed residence a pair of three-pointers, respectively – pushing the Lions’ result in 11 factors with solely 5 minutes performed.  

Tel-Aviv, a gifted and skilled aspect in their very own proper, battled again into the sport within the second quarter by six factors from Mcrae.   Nonetheless, the Lions used their sizable frontline to maintain themselves forward. Again-to-back three-pointers from Zubcic gave him 13 factors within the first half. 

Within the third interval, the groups traded baskets for a couple of minutes, with Tel Aviv choosing a smaller lineup.  Luke Nelson got here up with the sport’s spotlight play – falling out of bounds, he managed to string a bounce go to Koufos inside for the dunk.  

Nonetheless, Tel Aviv, with their followers chanting and drumming all through the sport, saved discovering openings – McRae and Onuaku being the first beneficiaries.  

Josh Sharma was a brilliant set off the bench amid the Lions’ 9-2 run, as the dual towers lineup of Sharma and Koufos proved troublesome for Hapoel to regulate to.  With Dekker pushing in transition, he discovered Taylor within the nook for the triple – as he prolonged the result in 12 factors. Within the fourth quarter, the Lions got here straight out the gate once more – with Taylor splashing one other three.  

But McRae answered once more as he did all night, along with his pull-up mid-range leap shot – chopping the result in 5 factors.  McRae scored eight straight factors for the visiting staff within the remaining 5 minutes of motion. He additionally shot 9 of 11 from the free-throw line. With three minutes remaining, Hapoel took the lead – capping off a 20-2 run in 5 minutes of fourth-quarter play. 

With a minute left and the sport hanging within the stability, McRae pulled up within the lane and transformed, utilizing the display expertly.  Operating it again with Taylor pulling the strings, he discovered Dekker with just a little room for the top-of-the-key three-pointer.  Nonetheless, the Lions couldn’t cease Onuaku from hitting the sport’s remaining shot and giving his staff victory.  The Lions will probably be upset at blowing the lead however will probably be inspired by their gamers’ performances regardless of accidents and foul bother. London will get an opportunity to reply in EuroCup motion subsequent in opposition to Italian aspect Aquila Basket Trento on Wednesday, 18 January. 



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