- National Teams
London Lions overcame Leicester Riders for a 79-71 triumph to be crowned 2023 BBL Cup winners.
Sam Dekker starred in the win with 23 points and nine rebounds to pick up MVP with Kosta Koufos adding a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
🏆 @LondonLions are #BBLCup champions!#KnowOurName #BritishBasketball pic.twitter.com/9gVIbfwWKh
— British Basketball League (@BBLofficial) January 29, 2023
The early stages set the tone for a physical battle between two great rivals with defences on top. Seven unanswered points helped give London the edge as they moved 21-16 ahead as Luke Nelson drained a late three.
Dekker fired in a three in a 7-2 start to the second with the gap pushed out to double digits for the first time. Kimbal Mackenzie was soon into double figures to keep Leicester in contention as they would trail 41-32 at the half.
Dekker hit a fourth triple at the start of the third, but Pat Whelan responded with one of his own as the Riders cut the gap to six points. Then London moved back into the ascendancy with a big run to establish the largest lead of the game at 64-48.
Then back came the Riders. A team that never knows when it’s beat. 10 straight points to open the fourth quarter with Lions captain Ovie Soko fouling out in the process as both teams felt aggrieved with some questionable calls.
Dekker finally stopped the rot after a three-minute scoreless spell for the team with back-to-back baskets in quick succession. Every time the Riders got closer, Dekker had the answer.
This time the Lions were able to close it out and stop Leicester’s seven-game win streak in BBL finals. With three more pieces of silverware up for grabs, it serves as an exciting appetiser for what’s to come in the remaining months.
– Leicester were the defending champions
– London last won the Cup title in 2019
– Riders starters: Mackenzie, Jackson, Whelan, Loving, Menzies
– Lions starters: Taylor, Nelson, Dekker, Zubcic, Koufos