Match report: Sharks 96 London Lions 93 (after overtime)

Sharks Olu Babalola drives to the basket against London Lions. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Sharks Olu Babalola drives to the basket against London Lions. Pic: Dean Woolley.
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The Sharks show they have the strength for a title fight as they help off the hard hitting London Lions on Friday night.

It took overtime for Atiba Lyons’ side to eventually beat their visitors but Sheffield were the deserved victors in front of a packed EIS.

London battled hard and gave Sharks one of their most physically intimidating contests of the season.

In the end it was Sheffield’s big men who came through with captain Mike Tuck making two free throws to send the game into an extra period at 82-82 and then Tuck and Demetrius Jemison shared 13 of Sharks 14 overtime points to see them close the gap on Worcester Wolves at the top of the BBL.

Sharks began well, playing at pace, to build a 10-4 lead over the Lions.

Back-to-back baskets by BJ Holmes made it 14-7 and Sharks lead was only kept in check by two threes from Julius Joseph and a three-point play from Rod Brown.

However, a 6-0 close to the first quarter by Sheffield saw them take a 26-18 advantage into the second period.

Lions turned the match around with a 13-0 opening to the second quarter.

Playing a physical brand of basketball London held the Sharks offence in check until Holmes broke the drought from the free throw line.

Missed free throws from Sheffield, with the exception of Olu Babalola, stalled their comeback but they did eventually tie the match at 43-43 thanks to a Holmes three.

However, Lions had the last word of the half with a three by Joe Ikhinmwin on the buzzer to give them a 46-43 advantage.

Lions raced out to a 54-46 lead early in the third quarter before a Jeremie Simmons three began a 13-5 run for Sharks which tied the score at 59-59.

Level at 64-64 with 10 minutes to play the Sharks couldn’t build a lead big enough to shake off the Lions and in the end needed Tuck to keep his nerve after Ikhinmwin had given London an 82-80 lead.

* Sharks: Jemison 20, Holmes 14, Simmons 12, Babalola 16, Tuck 12, Horstmann 8, Lewis 8, Sing 3, Gachette 3.