Lions just miss out on comeback against Gran Canaria
London Lions 57-60 Gran Canaria
(11-17, 15-15, 14-19, 17-9)
Lions – Dekker 18, Koufos 15, Nelson 7; Canaria – Shurna 13, Brussino 11, Slaughter 10
The London Lions battled back from a 13-point deficit to narrowly miss out on a comeback win against 7Days EuroCup Group B leaders Gran Canaria, in front of a huge crowd of excited fans at the Copper Box.
John Shurna was a high-man for Gran Canaria this evening, scoring 13 points and connecting on multiple pivotal plays in the win. The Lions they were led by Sam Dekker, who finished with 18 points and led the Lions comeback in the fourth quarter.
London now fall to 5-7 in Eurocup competition and hold on to the final qualifying spot in Group B. Gran Canaria continue their qualifying campaign with a run of six wins at the top of the group.
Gran Canaria opened the scoring with Nicolas Brussino connecting on a three pointer. The Lions got on the board thanks to Dekker racing to the hoop.
A score for the visitors from Khalifa Diop sparked a 7-0 run for Gran Canaria with only Dekker responding to end the quarter.
Shurna continued his tough shot making to open the second period. Josh Taylor got on the board for the Lions as Dekker willed his team back into contention with a huge defensive block on Diop.
Dekker demonstrated his all-around game scoring efficiently and calmly within the flow of the offence, but still had enough energy to dive for loose balls and find teammates in transition.
Mo Soluade connected from downtown to bring the Lions back within four with three minutes remaining in the half. However, Shurna hit a late buzzer-beater triple to push the lead back to six points.
In the third period Gran Canaria led by 13 points on a few occasions, but the Lions relied on what they have done all season: defence.
Early in the quarter London’s Kosta Koufos grabbed the board and found Tomislav Zubcic who swung it to Luke Nelson for the lay-in. Koufos would finish with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Gran Canaria kept their foot on the gas. Brussino connected on a three, plus the foul, and netted another triple midway through the period.
With the game getting physical, both teams traded free-throws towards the end of the third.
A 7-2 Lions run opened the fourth quarter, which brought the Lions roaring back to within six points.
Vojtech Hruban’s three-pointer for London was answered by Gran Canaria’s Oliver Stevic. But Koufos got cooking in the low block, powering his way through his defender for a hook shot.
Sparked by their big man, Dekker found Aaron Best on the break who converted from the stripe. Nelson also shone in the fourth – his three-pointer cut the lead to five with four minutes remaining.
Dekker drove to the hoop for two, but wasn’t able to convert from the three point line, and Gran Canaria held on to take the victory.
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