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Wins for the chasing pack while Lions pull off comeback victory

London Lions overturn big deficit to stun Worcester while Newcastle, Surrey and Plymouth kept the pressure on the league leaders with victories.

London Lions found themselves trailing Worcester Wolves by as many as 20 points before an inspired comeback in front of the Sky cameras helped them to a 94-76 success.

Newcastle kept up the pressure on league leaders, Leicester, with a comfortable win at home to Cheshire while Surrey and Plymouth both won on the road to keep in touch.

Paul James’ men got off to a fast start in the capital as they raced into a 21-4 lead. During the run, the trio of Alex Owumi, Stanley Ocitti and Arturas Masiulis all scored from beyond the arc with the Lithuanian centre taking his tally to nine points early on.

The home side entered double figures but were 19 points down at this stage and the differential would remain at the end of the opening quarter with Worcester leading 33-19.

Masiulis continued to cause problems for the Lions and his basket midway through the quarter made it 44-24 as the lead peaked at 20 points. However, back-to-back baskets from Phillip Wait and an all-round contribution from Adrien Sturt helped the hosts close the half with a 9-2 burst to trail 46-33 heading into the interval.

Arnas Kazlauskas started the second half with a triple before the Lions battled back into contention with a 13-0 spell, capped by five points from Orlan Jackman, to close to within three points. Owumi stopped the rot with another score from long range but the momentum was with the home side.

Lions’ captain, Mike Martin tied the game towards the end of the quarter with his first three of the night but Kazlauskas responded immediately with one of his own to give the visiting Wolves a 63-60 advantage heading into the fourth.

A run of 12 unanswered points put London in the ascendency with Martin and Jackman finding their range from downtown. Worcester hit back with an 8-0 response to trail by one before the Lions stormed clear as a dominant 20-3 finish helped secure the win.

Jackman was once again a leading figure for the Lions as he continued his scoring prowess in the league with a 22 point haul whilst adding nine rebounds and six assists. Tayo Ogedengbe and Adrien Sturt both contributed 17 points while Owumi top scored for the Wolves with a game high 25 points.

Surrey bounced back from their first home league defeat with a 74-54 win at Mersey, who fell to a 10th consecutive league defeat this season. Chavis Holmes stole the show with an impressive stat-line of 16 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals although it was his twin brother, Travis, who took the scoring honours with an 18 point haul.

Sam Cricelli added 15 rebounds to his 13 points against his former side, who were led by Gael Hulsen’s 13 points as Josh Lockett and Craig Pringle made their debuts. Both sides had players missing with Surrey without Martelle McLemore and Julius Joseph while the hosts were missing Chris Bigley.

Newcastle closed the gap at the top with a convincing win over Cheshire with six players, not including reigning MVP Joe Chapman, reaching double figures. Darius Defoe led the way with 19 points and 13 rebounds while Chez Marks continued his top form in November with another 17 points.

Finally, Plymouth were victorious on the road against the Sheffield Sharks with Michael Ojo top scoring with 23 points in a 99-71 win. The home side were still in contention at the halfway stage but the visiting Raiders asserted their authority in the final quarter to improve to a 7-3 record for the season ahead of their cup showdown with the Eagles.

Leicester have a chance to respond to the wins of the three teams below them as they host Durham while Worcester entertain Sheffield as both teams look to put recent defeats behind them.

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