London Lions produced a late comeback to start 2024 in style with an 85-80 win over Surrey Scorchers.

Gabe Olaseni was talismanic for the Lions, finishing with 25 points in 25 minutes, along with eight rebounds, while Surrey’s valiant effort saw three players scoring double-digit points and another three adding nine each.

Surrey’s Cameron Gooden picked up the first points of the new year from the foul line, but London’s response was jammed home by Ciaran Sandy off a pinpoint feed to the back door.
Threes were falling early at Surrey Sports Park, with the majority from the hosts who kept a one-score lead in the opening five minutes. 

London were forced to work the ball down low for their points and Olaseni did just that off another dime from Luke Nelson.
The lead seemingly changed with every offensive set as Josh Steel worked his way inside and finished neatly off the glass. Then out of a Lions timeout, Surrey blew the game wide open and got every shot they wanted.
They shot five-of-10 from outside the arc in the first period, and closed the quarter with a 10-point run which went unanswered to put them 29-18 up at the first break.
London replied with an 8-0 run, as Conor Morgan started bearing the load, but scoring dried up as both teams ramped up their defensive efforts, before the return of Gooden sparked a mini-run to make it 40-36 in Surrey's favour.
Their first three of the second quarter came with 30 seconds left in the half as Steel took the ball off the inbound and found nothing but nylon with the quick-release jumper.
Luke Okosieme had a big impact with star rebounder Saiquan Jamison out of action, scoring nine points in the first half capped by a three-point play for a 46-38 lead.

The big men opened the second-half scoring as Hunt battled his way inside to finish through contact, before Olaseni retaliated with a pair of his own in the paint.
Despite the triples continuing to fall for the Scorchers, Lions held their own and kept working he ball inside to stay within touching distance. 

Olaseni took his total past 20 points, and was the focal point of the London offence as they took their first lead since the first quarter.
Padiet Wang grew into the game, making good of some transition opportunities to ensure London didn’t move out of sight, as Surrey edged 62-60 up going into the final quarter.

The scoreboard lit up in the final period, as Lions started with a five-point run but saw Quin Cooper drain three-straight long-range bombs to make it a six-point game.
Morgan and Olaseni combined again to bring Lions back within one score, but Andrew Lawrence hit a triple to make it 76-72 before a media timeout.
The back-court duo of Taylor and Nelson came up clutch to give London leads on a couple of occasions in the closing minutes, but the sides were level-pegging for much of the final five minutes.
Taylor held his nerve and gave Lions a two-point lead with a nice finish, and the result was sealed by player of the game Olaseni and Morgan at the line with Surrey going cold at the wrong time.