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LIONS POUNCE ON BRISTOL FOR FIRST LEAGUE WIN
Teesside Lions MenV
Bristol Basketball United
Sunday 15th October|
Teesside Lions collected their first victory in NBL Division 2 after a dominant performance over Bristol United, a game in which they led throughout, and by as many as 30pts in the third quarter.
With the leagues two tallest players on court in 7 foot Lions captain Theo Turner against 7’1 Solomon Mills it would be Turner who would start and finish the better as he hit a nice jump shot following tip. Mills replied with a lay-up, but there would be only one more basket scored by the Bristol big man. On the contrary Turner hit a game high 18pts on his way to an MVP performance.
Billy Cousins was electric for Lions in the first quarter scoring 9pts including a 3-pointer and a breakaway dunk to bring the crowd to its feet. American Joshua Johnson scored 6pts for Bristol but it was Teesside who shone brightly with a 25-11 score line at the end of the first quarter.
Lions extended their lead at the start of the second period as Luke Mitchell, Aaron Maxwell and Tyrese Nfon took turns in scoring with good link up play across the floor.
Teesside were playing astute defence and soon built a 23pt lead; Maxwell spinning his defender for the highlight finish.
Aiden Khan ploughed a furrow for the visitors with a number of strong finishes but Lions were in complete control as the half time buzzer sounded; leading by 19pts, 46-27.
In the third quarter Karim Tadros finished the put-back after collecting an offensive rebound. The response from the home side was emphatic however as Arran Baxter finished great ball movement with a sweet 3-pointer followed by two free throws converted by Turner. The pair continued their scoring run with Baxter finishing a floating jump shot and Turner working well in the post and finishing off the glass, under pressure from two defenders.
Lions American Tom Horvat was a constant thorn in the side of Bristol as he amassed 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. The sharp shooter was on target in the seventh minute as Luke Mitchell found him in the corner for an open 3-pointer.
Horvat followed this up with a rebound and smooth drive to the basket.
With three minutes remaining in the third period Lions were leading by 30pts. A resilient response from Khan with 7pts to finish the quarter reduced the deficit to 23pts at the end of the third.
The final quarter was Lions lowest scoring period and Bristol’s best as the visitors outscored the hosts 14-28. A reminder that nothing can be taken for granted in NBL2. Teesside were becoming casual on defence, which will be disappointing to Coach Bojev, especially after doing so well in the previous three quarters.
In a fourth quarter where the scoring dried up yet again, it was yet again Luke Mitchell who stepped up to plug the leaks hitting 5pts, but crucially controlling the ball and game in a period where Bristol gained momentum and reduced a 30pt deficit to single figures. Khan and Johnson will be pleased with the way they finished but Teesside were worthy victors and in complete control of 90% of the game.
Teesside had numerous players in contention for MVP with five hitting double figure points in scoring. It was a game where stats were shared evenly aside of the 12 assists produced by Luke Mitchell, who finished with a double-double.
With 18pts, 11 rebounds & 7 assists however the MVP was awarded to Theo Turner.
Game MVP: Theo Turner
Teesside Lions 83-74 Bristol United
Teesside: Turner 18, Cousins 12, Baxter 11, Horvat 10, Mitchell 10
Bristol: Johnson 18, Khan 18, Tadros 15
Teesside have a busy weekend ahead with a long trip to the University of East Anglia on Saturday for the third round of the National Cup, followed by another home game at Eston Arena on Sunday against one of the championship favourites St Helens.
Tickets are available to buy now from TeessideLions.com in what promises to be an exciting game not to be missed.