EAGLES CLOSE ON BBL TITLE


Newcastle Eagles are closing in on the BBL title.

Friday evening’s 99-82 victory against fellow title contenders Leicester could yet prove key in the race for the championship, and Fabulous Flournoy’s team completed a good weekend with a 97-82 win at basement side Durham Wildcats.

Against Wildcats, Gause missed just one shot for Newcastle as he got 22 points, but it was Joe Chapman who led their scorers with 24 points.

Riders bounced back the following evening as they won 106-80 against Guildford Heat Bradd Wierzbicki top-scored with 24 points and made nine assists, while Martelle McLemore led the Guildford scorers with 19 points.

Saturday saw second placed Worcester Wolves keep up the pressure on the Eagles with a 64-61 home win against Glasgow Rocks in an extremely tight game. David Watts sunk a three pointer right at the end of the game to earn them a victory sealed by a Tommy Freeman free throw. Richie Gordon led all scorers with 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, while Sterling Davis top-scored for the Rocks with 17.

Wolves coach Paul James was delighted with Watt’s clincher. “The players moved the ball very well to find Tin [Watts] open and he made a big shot which we were all visibly happy about,” he said.

Plymouth Raiders also stay in the title chase following their 94-82 victory over Sheffield, thanks mainly to a strong first half which saw Jeremy Bell hit 24 points. They made it a winning weekend on Sunday as Bell was again the man as he scored 21 points against his former club, Cheshire Jets, in an 88-79 come-from-behind victory.

Elsewhere, on Friday the Sharks gained quick-fire revenge against the Mersey Tigers with a 99-82 home win following last week’s loss in Liverpool.

Glasgow Rocks coach Sterling Davis cursed his bad luck on Sunday after he was only able to field seven players against Guildford Heat.

The Kelvin Hall outfit suffered an 83-81 defeat with EJ Harrison absent and Mychal Green and Jonny Bunyan sidelined though knee injuries sustained during Saturday’s at Worcester. And the American was left frustrated as his short-handed side came so close to beating the odds.

“It’s still disappointing,” he said. “Worcester was brutal because we fought the whole game and then they hit a three pointer with 1.8 seconds left. That hurts. And against Guildford, we just couldn’t close it out. I can’t fault our effort. You can’t legislate for losing three guys. Maybe I’m not praying hard enough.”

Scotland captain Gareth Murray led the Rocks with 20 points against the Heat who snatched victory with Drew Lasker’s decisive late basket.

MK Lions completed the weekend’s action as they fought back from a 22 point deficit to snap a six game losing streak with an 81-78 home win against Mersey Tigers. Ten points from Demarius Bolds in the final quarter helped the Lions get to within a point with less than 10 seconds left in the contest. An unsportsmanlike foul called against Tigers’ Devan Bailey sent Bolds to the line with 7.5 seconds left and he held his nerve to make both of his free-throws to put the Lions ahead 79-78. Two further free-throws from Stefan Gill from the ensuing inbound was enough to secure the victory for Milton Keynes and send them into joint seventh position in the table.

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