They managed to defeat Reyer in Round 10, which was their fifth straight win in the EuroCup.
London Lions overcame adversity to set record unbeaten run
It hasn’t taken the London Lions too long to be feared in the BKT EuroCup. If last season was a chance for experiments, this campaign has seen the English side show a resilience that often comes after one thing: winning.
Well, Petar Bozic’s squad definitely know how it feels to win. On Tuesday night, London went to Italy and beat an impressive Umana Reyer Venice side 91-95, despite facing adversity on the night.
A historic run for the London Lions
That triumph meant that London has now won five straight games in the EuroCup for the first time in its history and it also improved its road record to a perfect 6-0, with an 8-2 mark overall.
Star forward Sam Dekker played in his second game since returning from injury in Venice, yet his night ended prematurely after being ejected. The 2022-23 All-EuroCup Second Team selection was called for a technical foul midway through the third quarter as he debated a call, having been hit with an unsportsmanlike foul at the halfway point of the opening quarter. He finished with 7 points and exited the game with London leading by just 3 points, 61-64.
Fortunately for Dekker and Coach Bozic, London is no longer a one-man show. Gabe Olaseni had his third double-double of the season, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Matt Morgan once again showed why he is one of the most dangerous guards in the competition with an impressive 19 points.
What’s more, Conor Morgan hit double figures in points for the eighth game in the last nine, netting 11 against Reyer, and Tarik Phillip chipped in with 10 points off the bench, although it could have been more if he had improved on his 3-of-10 night from the free-throw line.
A captain’s performance
Another player who showed up in key moments was Jordan Taylor, who had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. The veteran point guard especially came to the fore in the fourth quarter, starting with an assist for a Josh Sharma layup to open the final act, 72-74. Later, his off-balanced layup set a 74-82 score.
Then, with Reyer making a late comeback, even cutting the gap to 88-90 with 1:08 minutes remaining, Taylor appeared with a three-pointer to give London breathing room, 88-93. He almost became the villain after fouling Rayjon Tucker on a three-point shot, which was his fifth foul and saw him watch the remaining 16 seconds from the sidelines, but the Reyer star could only go 1-of-3, before London saw the game over the line, 91-95.
Good news and bad news
One of the more positive parts of the night was the opportunity given to youngster Kareem Queeley, as he played his most minutes in the EuroCup this season (14:33) and came up with a crucial three-point play that made it 74-80 at a point when Reyer was mounting a comeback. Those were his only points of the night, but playing in that type of atmosphere is likely to do wonders for the 22-year-old’s confidence.
The bad news, however, is that Donte Grantham ended up having to be helped to the sidelines early in the fourth quarter after picking up an injury. The EuroCup rookie has impressed in his debut campaign with London, particularly when Dekker was out with an injury of his own, so Lions fans will be crossing their fingers that it ends up being nothing serious.
So, on a night of highs and lows for London, Coach Bozic’s men showed once again that they have the wind in their sails. Next up for the Lions, they play host to the 1-9 Veolia Towers Hamburg at Copper Box Arena. Another win would see London take another big step towards securing a playoff berth, as the club’s dream of reaching the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague becomes a greater possibility with each passing victory.