|Teesside Lions Men
|Bristol Academy Flyers
CONNECT 4 FOR LIONS AFTER VICTORY OVER BRISTOL
Teesside Lions MenV
Bristol Academy Flyers
Sunday 11th February|
Teesside Lions continued their impressive run of form on Sunday with another convincing 21pt victory over Bristol Flyers Academy.
Coach Bojev was without American star Tom Horvat heading into the game. The talented point guard is averaging nearly 20 points per game, but hurt his knee mid-week, and is likely to miss the Leicester game but hoping to return for Bristol Hurricanes in two week’s time.
The team were boosted by the return of seven-foot centre Theo Turner.
Turner got off to a quick start for the Lions, scoring an early 10 points in the first quarter alongside some solid offensive rebounding to keep possessions alive for the hosts. Bristol were struggling to contain the Lions big man, but were a pest from behind the arc.
The Flyers started the game on fire from three, with Ladjimi, Gonzalo & Smart all connecting.
Intensified defending from the Lions quickly slowed them down at the perimeter but exposed a weakness inside as Ladjimi and Smart both attacked an advantage to gain 4pts between them.
A call for quicker help activation patched up the crack, and the better defence led to better offence as Billy Cousins enjoyed a productive spell with 6pts in two minutes followed by strong finishes from Turner and Emmanuel Kabengele, and it was Teesside who held a five-point lead at the end of the first quarter 23-18.
The second quarter continued in the same vein as the end of the first with Lions looking good value, but Bristol always capable of popping up with a big shot.
Faaris Mughal, the man of the moment after his 13 three pointers made national headlines last weekend, continued his hot form, nailing two threes in an eight-point second quarter to help keep the Lions ahead of the game.
A monstrous dunk from Emmanuel Kabengele topped off a dominant second quarter for the Lions, which saw them extend their advantage to 13 points heading into half time, 47-34.
The hot hand was still that of Faaris Mughal after the interval; he added another eight points to his tally in the third quarter and remained on fire from behind the arc.
Teesside hit 24pts in the third period and restricted Bristol to 18 to further widen the gap.
Lions hit another five 3’s in this period with Mughal, Mitchell, Kabengele & Glen all chipping in. Glen was showing his dominance at both ends of the court as he initiated good play on offence and extended multiple invitations to his block party at the other end.
As Teesside firmed their grip on the game, Luke Mitchell continued his excellent form with yet another superb assist to Kabengele for the easy finish. His dribble control and passing ability is a joy to behold and he would finish this game with another sublime 14 assists.
At the third quarter buzzer, Teesside were in cruise at 71-52.
In the final period, Bristol showed they were not prepared to bow as Teesside set out to assert their dominance.
In the second minute Mughal hit a free throw to extend the lead to 24pts, but Teesside were starting to show frustration at the perceived disparity in the calls.
Bristol were a very physical side but the foul count was showing 15 called against Lions and just 7 against Flyers. The Flyers were also sent to the line 21 times to Lions 5.
Lions showed a glimpse of fragility and this allowed Simba and Gonzalo to capitalise with a 3-pointer each to spark some momentum.
These small embers however were doused as Teesside regained their composure and continued undeterred for the remainder of the final quarter. Mughal hit 11pts in this period whil Jamie Glen delivered an exclamation mark on the result with a two-handed ‘Tomahawk’ dunk in one of the highlights of the game as Teesside placed a cherry on top of another fantastic 21pt victory to move back into fifth place following Leicester’s victory over Worcester Wolves the previous day.
Faaris Mughal led all scorers with 27 points in another efficient performance. Jamie Glen was a beating heart of the team at both ends of the court and finished with 7pts, 10 rebounds, 8 assists & 3 blocks for an all-round productive game.
Theo Turner was impressive with 20pts & 10 rebounds prior to turning his ankle mid way through the final quarter.
Emmanuel Kabengele was another consideration for MVP with 14pts, 4 rebounds and a strong defensive presence throughout the game.
The MVP however was awarded to Luke Mitchell who dished out an incredible 14 assists along whilst also adding 8 rebounds & 6pts to position himself yet again as the best British playmaker in NBL2.
Lions assistant coach and owner James Thomson believes Luke to be the best British Point-Guard in any division adding:
“Luke is the best point guard I have seen. I cant think of a better passing player across any of the leagues, including the BBL. He is regularly notching up 10+ assists per game to the point that 14 assists is now becoming the norm.
“Often these players contributions can be overlooked and it’s important that they are not.
“I have said it previously that he is my type of player, a creative pass first guard, and we are fortunate on Teesside to watch him play week in and week out.”
Teesside are now back in fifth place with an 8-6 record ahead of next Saturday’s trip to sixth placed Leicester Warriors.
The week after is a huge clash against the league leading Bristol Hurricanes at Eston Arena on Saturday 24th February at 3.30pm.
Supporters can get their tickets for this crucial game now at TeessideLions.com