The English side got back to winning ways at home after losing back-to-back games at Copper Box Arena.
Matt Morgan, Gabe Olaseni gave the London Lions crowd reason to cheer
There’s arguably no hotter team in Group A of the 2023-24 BKT EuroCup than the London Lions, who secured their third straight victory by defeating Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana 101-95 at Copper Box Arena in Round 8 on Wednesday night.
Despite that, London has been one team on its home floor and another on the road, having gone 1-2 at Copper Box Arena heading into Round 8 and a perfect 4-0 on its travels. On Wednesday, though, Petar Bozic’s side made sure the home fans went home happy by ending a two-game losing streak at Copper Box and improving to a 6-2 overall record.
Gabe Olaseni made his presence felt
The star man on the night was local hero Gabe Olaseni, who was born just over three kilometers away from Copper Box, as he posted a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double, in addition to dishing 5 assists.
It was a very complete performance from the London big man, and with each passing week he is making a bigger and bigger case that he should be an All-EuroCup selection. Olaseni may have started off slow against Cedevita, which was without Karlo Matkovic, but he ended up causing all sorts of headaches for the visitors inside.
“I started off pretty bad, I think I missed four or five shots I’d usually make,” Olaseni admitted in the post-game flash interview. “But the coaching staff trusts me, my teammates trust me to continue to make plays. I’m happy we got the win, I’m happy I was able to affect the game in a positive way.”
Matt Morgan continued to amaze
Another player who is making a strong case to be named to one of the All-EuroCup teams is guard Matt Morgan, who scored a game-high 24 points and also had 2 rebounds and 5 assists.
Both Olaseni and Morgan have been two of the standout players in the EuroCup this season and, with Sam Dekker having missed six games this season with an injury, including Wednesday night, they are a big reason why London finds itself in third place in the standings.
For Morgan, he had a very consistent rate of scoring on his way to those 24 points, netting 5 points in the first quarter, 6 in the second, 6 in the third and then 7 in the fourth. The speed at which he can get downhill makes him a very dangerous threat, and his incredible ability to make off-balance layups was again on show against Cedevita in Round 8. Morgan even earned himself 'MVP' chants while at the foul line in the closing stages.
A special mention for Conor Morgan
Conor Morgan tends to go under the radar whenever London comes up in discussion, but the five-year EuroCup veteran effectively put Wednesday night’s win on ice with some crucial plays. First, with 0:49 left in the fourth quarter, Morgan drained a three-pointer from the corner to give London a 5-point lead, 94-89. Then, with 0:42 remaining, he recovered from the weak side and rose up to perfectly block Shawn Jones’s dunk attempt.
Add in the fact that Morgan finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and a further block and it makes for a very impressive night by London’s No. 9.
Next week, London travels to Lithuania to take on the 4-3 Wolves Vilnius, with that game will officially mark the halfway point in the season. Yet, with the Lions continuing to put wins on the board, there appears to be no stopping Coach Bozic’s squad at present.