Championship-winning London Lions secured their 30th victory of the regular BBL season in a hard-fought game against Bristol Flyers winning 86-71.

The Lions saw Bristol battle back repeatedly from double-digit deficits, but their star power saw them over the line, with London-born Gabe Olaseni dominant inside, putting up a 21 point double-double.

Despite never leading in the game, Bristol fought hard throughout to stay in the game for four quarters. They came back from down 16 in the second quarter to bring the deficit to three late in the half, but couldn’t convert their three point attempts to take hold of the game.

Olaseni’s six quick points led the Lions to a double digit lead midway through the opening period, the GB man making the first two scores of the game, but Bristol’s Levi Bradley provided offence to keep the hosts within reach.

They couldn’t make a dent into the deficit in the first quarter, however, and high-flying Josh Sharma scored four late points to put Lions 24-14 up.

Olaseni and Sharma’s impact continued into the second quarter as they scored London’s first nine points to hold the Flyers at arm’s length.

The Lions began to build their lead, sparking a run following the highlight play of the afternoon. A loose Bristol inbound found Tarik Phillip, who dished a behind-the-back pass to Ciaran Sandy who rewarded his teammate with an explosive jam.

That made it 40-24, but Flyers went on a 13-0 run to cut the difference to a single score as Lions, the BBL’s leading offence, went scoreless from the field in the final 4:42 of the half.

Mo Soluade scored their only two points in that period from the foul line as Lions went into the break 42-38 up.

The second half saw missed opportunities for the Lions as they couldn’t convert a 3-on-1 fastbreak off a Matthew Morgan steal, and missed multiple scoring chances at the rim.

Bristol kept in touch, but Olaseni continued to own the inside, his scores building the lead back to seven points as he drained a floater with a delicate touch for his 17th point to make it 54-47 with 4:53 on the clock.

London couldn’t put Bristol to bed, however, ending the third 3-22 from three-point range as Flyers cut the gap to four at the final break.

The game, devoid of threes through three quarters, turned into a shoot out as six straight scores came from behind the arc, David Nwaba hitting the sixth to make it 73-65.

A turning point in the fourth was an unsportsmanlike foul on Bristol, with Olaseni held with too much force as he drove to the rim for a jam. Olaseni went to the line and made both to take the London lead to 10.

And although Bristol’s defence remained intense until the buzzer, London’s talent overcame it down the stretch as Nwaba found a way to put a turnaround jumper in for an and-one play and Soluade made the final score of the game with 1:39 left, hitting a three and sealing it.