RAIDERS TAKE LEAD IN TROPHY FINALE

Plymouth Raiders produced a late surge to grab a 97-88 victory over Newcastle Eagles in the first leg of the BBL Trophy final.

Gavin Love’s men – led by a game-high 22 from Michael Ojo – hit 9 of the game’s last 13 points to give themselves a fighting chance heading into next Friday’s return on Tyneside.

But it was a tight contest throughout, Plymouth’s 38-29 cushion midway through the second period quickly cut to just 5 at half-time.

Andrew Thomson levelled the tie at 43-43 with 7:19 left in the third before Newcastle made their surge, Paul Gause draining a three-pointer to send the visitors 57-51 clear.

However a 9-3 run early in the fourth brought the Raiders back into contention and they never trailed after Jeremy Bell hit a three to put his side up 83-81 with 4:22 remaining.

And with Paul Williams snaring 14 points and 18 rebounds, the hosts drew a decisive first blood.

Charles Smith had a team-high 21 for Newcastle.

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