Champions League: Neptunas edge London in tight finish

Champions League: Neptunas edge London in tight finish

Justin Robinson
Justin Robinson hit three three-pointers in his 13 points for the Lions

London Lions narrowly lost 77-73 to Lithuania’s Neptunas Klaipeda in their Champions League qualifier.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning hit 16 points and Justin Robinson 13 as London came up short in the last 30 seconds after rebounding well to stay in the game.

Lions also saw good performances from former NBA centre Byron Mullens, who added 10 points and eight rebounds.

The result means London will play their next European game in the Fiba Europe Cup in January.

London, who started as outsiders in their first game in European competition, were in contention all the way through the game in Botevgrad in Bulgaria, trailing by just two points at half-time (40-38), rebounding strongly and running the floor well in transition.

Neptunas, who struggled to settle and missed many of the three-point shots they generated, had a five-point lead with 1:10 remaining but were made to scramble after Lions levelled the game in the next 26 seconds through Bryan-Amaning and Dirk Williams.

Bryan-Amaning, who was Lions’ best offensive threat in the second half, thought he had been fouled with seven seconds remaining but when the call never came, Neptunas then scored the two free throws they needed to make the game certain.

“That was a tough call because that there was our chance,” said Lions coach Vince Razaq, who revealed former NBA guard DeAndre Liggins had struggled with a finger dislocation almost from the start of the game.

“We knew it was going to be tough but I thought we showed a lot of character – we came back well but down the stretch they showed a lot of smarts.”

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