MK Lions moved themselves into joint fifth position with the Glasgow Rocks and the One Health Sharks Sheffield in the BBL Championship table thanks to a hard fought 82-73 victory over the Durham Wildcats at the MK Basketball Arena on Friday evening.
Both sides traded baskets throughout the majority of the opening period, but it was the Lions that made the first move of the game leaping out to a five point lead at 13-8 before the Wildcats got themselves back to within a point at 14-13 with 2:40 left in the quarter. The home side finished the opening stanza the stronger as they netted the final five points of the period to lead 19-13 at the end of the quarter.
In the second period an 8-2 Lions burst to open the quarter took the score out to 27-15. Despite the best efforts of the visitors to claw their way back into the contest, five points from Stefan Gill in the closing stages helped the Lions head into the locker room leading 40-22 at the half.
In the second half the visitors managed to close the gap slightly to 15 points at 51-36, but the Lions responded immediately with a 13-5 tear of their own to take the score right back out to 64-41. The home side maintained their strong lead as the period wound down to lead 65-43 heading into the final stanza.
In the final quarter a three-pointer from Adrien Sturt helped the Lions into a 21 point lead at 76-55 with 3:35 remaining in the contest. The Wildcats however would not give up without a fight as they rattled off a 18-4 tear to get to within seven points at 80-73 with 27 seconds remaining, but a pair of free throws from Sturt sealed the game and the victory for the Lions.
Sturt led all scorers in the contest with 22 points for the home side, while Mike Capocci led the scoring for the Wildcats with 20 points personal.