BBL TROPHY: EAGLES WIN 2OT THRILLER

Newcastle Eagles coach Fab Flournoy has warned that his side still have a huge room for improvement after they pulled off a double overtime win over Glasgow Rocks to begin their defence of the BBL Trophy.

A 9-0 run in the second extra period broke open a ferocious deadlock at the Kelvin Hall and saw the holders, led by 33 points from Joe Chapman, win their first game of the season.

“Rocks against Newcastle is always like that and it brings out the best in us and them,” said Flournoy. “It was one of those games where either team could have won, but I’m pleased that we got our season off to a winning start. But I know we can get a lot better.”

Newcastle was without Trey Moore who, club officials confirmed, is still awaiting visa clearance with no fixed timescale for his arrival.

Mersey Tigers experienced a comfortable 91-71 victory over Cheshire Jets at the Northgate Arena.

Andrew Thomson led all scorers in the game with 22 points for the Tigers, while new-boy Jeremy Smith introduced himself to the Jets fans to lead their scoring with 20 points.

Tigers coach Tony Garbelotto was pleased with his side’s performance but felt that there was still more to come from his team.

“I know that we have got a good team, but I am hoping that we can add a couple more players to our squad to help us improve still further.  I felt that we were a step ahead of the Jets tonight and if we want to be successful in this competition you have to win games on the road.”

It was a second loss in 48 hours for Cheshire who were defeated by 70-68 at Worcester Wolves.

Paul James’s team led from midway through the first quarter when Danny Gilbert’s three sparked a 12-2 run, which took Wolves 24-14 ahead – Gilbert and David Watts shared four three pointers in that burst.

Leicester Riders got their season off to a winning start with an 80-70 victory over the visiting Essex Pirates.  The hosts had to battle back from a 35-20 deficit early in the second quarter before pulling away with some strong defence in the final period. The result gives Leicester a new club record of ten home wins in a row dating back to January.

On Friday, Sheffield Sharks triumphed by 102-93 after weathering a fourth quarter comeback from the Rocks at the EIS. Mike Tuck led their scoring with 28 points, supported by debutants Steve Dagostino (22) and Paul Williams (20).

The Sharks looked to have the game won after a decisive run in the second quarter, during which Dagostino scored three three-pointers and fourteen points, and a strong third quarter which gave them a 20 point lead heading into the last ten minutes.

However, the Rocks came surging back behind 7 points from Moses Mubarak and consecutive baskets from Nick Livas to make it a one possession game at 85-82 after an amazing 19-2 opening to the fourth quarter. But the resolute Sharks saw the game out as Dagostino hit another three and Williams and Tuck kept their composure on the inside late on.

In the night’s other game, Plymouth Raiders edged victory over the Worthing Thunder in a clash of the league’s two southernmost teams as Taner Adu scored with two seconds left to give them a 79-77 win.

The game was tight throughout – with 16 lead changes and the teams being tied on 12 occasions – and they entered the final minute tied at 77. But England international Adu made his twentieth point of the game to seal the win. The Raiders were led by Anthony Rowe’s 21 points; while Evaldas Zabas led the resistance, with 31 points for the visiting Thunder.

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