Sunday 22nd December 2019

BBL Championship

London Lions 87 (Soko 17 Romero 16 Peel 13) B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 79 (McKnight 17 Koch 16 Cashaw 15)

A 30-19 third quarter cost the B. Braun Sharks in what was otherwise a very close encounter against the London Lions at the Copperbox Arena. The Sharks went toe-to-toe with the champions for long periods and it took some accurate three point shooting from the hosts to separate the sides on the night. The Sharks festive programme sees them move on to Newcastle on Friday (December 27th) before returning home against Leicester on Sunday (December 29th).

Starting Fives

Lions: Soko, Robinson, Peel, Ikhinmwin, Dang-Akodo.

Sharks: Lewis, Cashaw, Marsden, McKnight, Koch.

Key Moments

Three point plays from Ikhinmwin (x2), Lockhart and Robinson saw London out to a 16-4 lead on a 12-0 run midway through the first. Rob Marsden (4) and Connor Cashaw (4) reduced the arrears but it was the Lions who claimed a 22-14 first quarter lead.

The Sharks took control in the second as a tight contest played out. Six Bennett Koch points saw the Sharks draw level at 24-24 and into the lead on Bouna Ndiaye’s trey at 28-27. Ovie Soko’s and one play and Romero’s triple put London back in front at 37-34 but a late three from Nick Lewis saw the half conclude on level terms at 37-37.

The third quarter began on a series of technical fouls and the Sharks were still very much in touch at 47-46 on Rob Marsden’s and one midway through the stanza. Brandon Peel’s three saw the Lions begin to inch away and the same player made it 65-55 on a huge triple with 1.21 to go. That lead became 11 at 67-56 by the quarter end.

A pair of Romero treys worked in London’s favour and his lay up on Soko’s assist saw Atiba Lyons calling for time at 81-63. The Sharks held the Lions to just 6 further points in the remaining 5.55 of the game. Connor Cashaw made three from the line, bookended by three’s from Mackey McKnight as the fightback proved just a little too late; 87-79 being the final score.

MVP

The Lions shot 47% from distance as opposed to the Sharks 17% as a third quarter tear from the champions ultimately won them the game. That said, there were many creditable performances from the Sharks. Connor Cashaw was influential particularly in the latter stages on his way to 15 points and 9 rebounds. Bennett Koch battled tirelessly in the paint and came up with 16 points and 6 rebounds. But again, Mackey McKnight took the plaudits for his energy and invention. He ended with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, just being unable to get the Sharks over the line despite a tremendous late fightback.

Next home game

B. Braun Sharks v Leicester Riders, Sunday 29th December 2019, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 4pm Tip Off.

Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/b-braun-sheffield-sharks-v-leicester-riders-tickets-78576976853

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Andy Chubb