- National Teams
London Lions have finished their preparation ahead of their Basketball Champions League qualifier against Treviso tonight, as they make their second attempt to qualify for the European competition.
They head into the contest with 5 games under the belt, having gone 2-3 in their five games across Athens, Greece and Belgrade, Serbia.
“We’re very excited to be here. Last year we had a narrow loss to Neptunas, it’s taken us a long time to get another opportunity so it’s good to be here,” Head Coach Macaulay said yesterday.
“We expect a very challenging, tough game. Full respect to Coach (Massimilliano) Menetti and his staff, we know they will be very well prepared, we’ve seen how successful they have been in the Italian Super Cup.
“Some of the guys coming back; DeWayne Russell, being very comfortable, we think that Michal Sokolowski (will be a focus), who led the team so well last year, then of course the the new guys, Aaron Jones and Henry Simms and (Nikola) Akele has improved so much, so we know this is a very tough, solid European team.”
— London Lions (@LondonLions) September 12, 2021
They opened up their preparation with a heavy 102-81 loss to top flight Greek side AEK Athens, who are perennial Basketball Champions League contenders and finished 4th in the Greek domestic league last season.
They followed that with a confidence boosting 69-47 rout of Greek second division side, A.O. Tpiton. No stats were obtainable for their games in Greece.
From there, a trip to Belgrade, Serbia ensued, which they opened up with a tough 82-58 loss against ABA side KK Mega, a club owned by powerhouse agency BeoBasket, who are renowned for producing top European talent and consistently have one of the youngest professional rosters in Europe – and currently feature NBA projected first round pick Nikola Jovic. Dirk Williams led London with 14 points, whilst Julian Washburn added 10.
A 97-78 win over OKK Beograd was up next, behind another 23 from Dirk Williams, and 15 points apiece from Kylor Kelley, Isaiah Reese and Lorenzo Cugini.
And then finally, they rounded out their preparation with a 102-90 loss to FIBA Europe Cup side CSM Oradea, out of Romania, as Marquis Teague topped the scoring with 17 points and Washburn added 14.
Aug 29 – 102-81 loss to AEK
Aug 31 – 69-47 win over A.O. Tpiton
Sep 6 – 82-58 loss to KK Mega
Sep 8 – 97-78 win over OKK Beograd
Sep 9 – 102-90 loss to CSM Oradea
Two-time BBL MVP Justin Robinson’s status for the game remains unconfirmed, with no evidence of him having suited up through preparation. He has spent the summer rehabbing an injury sustained in the BBL playoff semi finals last season.
Meanwhile, Macaulay is looking to put British basketball on the map.
“It’s very important for us as a team and club (to compete in Europenoon) in terms of where we want to go,” Macaulay said.
“This is very important for our achievements and for the whole of British basketball. A lot of people maybe don’t think we play basketball in England so we want to prove that we do and also have some very talented guys.
Image Credits: London Lions/Carol Moir