Leeds Force crashed to the second-largest defeat in BBL history tonight, suffering a 44-128 thrashing against London Lions at Carnegie Sports Arena.
A whirlwind start saw Force tame the Lions in a closely-contested opening quarter – British duo Isaac Mourier and George Brownell energising the crowd with a treble each to keep in touching distance of the playoff-chasing London.
The absence of team captain Joe Ikhinmwin failed to prevent London finding their groove after a cagey start – American star Brandon Peel leading Lions’ first-period onslaught to set the tone for what was to come.
Leeds’ early efforts were soon forgotten as London stamped on the gas pedal and marched clear with a flurry of baskets to cap a one-sided first period. Suffocating defence prevented Force’s towering forward duo of Mo Williams and Gazmend Sinani from making in-roads as the visitors continued to drub the faltering Force.
GB international Justin Robinson’s dazzling attacking display cut Leeds’ vulnerable defence to ribbons as the clock ticked towards half-time – Vytautas Kamarunas’ buzzer beater the sole bright spark of a miserable 10 minutes for Force.
Sinani’s offensive in-roads failed to turn the tide in the second half as London’s demolition job continued – bench threat Dzaflo Larkai punishing Leeds with three baskets unanswered before Cory Dixon stunned the Force crowd with a soaring ally-oop slam.
Dixon returned with a vengeance and refused to let Force rest as the road side pushed for a record-breaking victory.
Brownell’s impressive long-range triple gave Force brief respite as Leeds fought for only pride with the result beyond doubt to begin the fourth.
With Newcastle’s record-setting 88-point thrashing of Leeds in sight, London continued to lay siege to Force’s basket as the cavernous divide between each team’s level became cruelly clear.
London’s newest signing Jerelle Okoro capped Lions’ euphoria and landed the final blow with a spectacular full-court shot as the buzzer sounded – condemning Force to another nightmarish loss in their disastrous BBL campaign.