LIVE: London Lions go for EuroCup glory in Finals second leg -

LIVE: London Lions go for EuroCup glory in Finals second leg

It all comes down to this. London Lions need to beat Besiktas by at least eight points to complete a truly astonishing achievement, and become EuroCup champions.

After 14 consecutive victories in the competition, the Lions dropped the first leg 75-68 last Wednesday, but are back in familiar territory with the second leg taking place at the Copper Box with a 7pm tip.

London pride

Down, but not out. That’s the key theme as the EuroCup Finals are effectively at half-time with London looking to overturn a seven-point deficit. Sometimes, you don’t get a second chance in a final – but the Lions can prove why they’ve been the best team in the competition this season by responding to their first loss.

Stella Kaltsidou’s side have been particularly imperious at home, having won all seven encounters by a margin of at least 12 points, including the impressive semi-final triumph over Reyer Venice. With a big crowd expected, the players can feed off that energy and lift the title in style.

THAT 12-0 run

Things could have turned out a whole lot worse for the Lions. At one stage, during the first leg in Istanbul, they found themselves in an 18-point hole. But the belief never waned, and they put together a crucial 12-0 run to get back into the contest with Holly Winterburn and Karlie Samuelson providing the offensive sparks.

When you look back on an 80-minute tie, it’s those sort of spells that can be significant. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for more dramatic twists and turns, but that run has kept London firmly in contention.

The star battles

For the most part, London did a good job on Dana Evans – who went 7-of-23 for 20 points, but it was surprising that the battle inside went the way of the hosts. Temi Fagbenle and Megan Gustafson didn’t share too much time on the court together and were relatively quiet for their extreme high standards – but both are serious game-winners, and you wouldn’t count out either to go off for a 25+ point performance to turn the tide.

Besiktas had other players step up – in particular Elif Bayram with a solid double-double – while playmaker Jovana Nogic got hot in the first half, and London will still feel they have more than have quality to have a big game. They missed shots they would expect to make, and nerves might not play as much of a factor second time around.

History has already been made, but winning the title would transcend this team beyond the confinements of British Basketball folklore. And this may well be the last dance in Europe.

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