A pair of wins from Newcastle Eagles saw them return to the top of the BBL Championship, as Leicester Riders lost 86-82 at Plymouth Raiders.

Champions Eagles followed up Friday’s 89-80 home win against Surrey Heat with a 94-71 at London Lions.

Damon Huffman led the Eagles with 26 points in Friday’s win against the Heat, while Darius Defoe had a double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds. Charles Smith missed the weekend’s action for the Eagles, but Huffman was in imperious form on Sunday as he sparked the game-clinching 21-6 run in the second period, finishing the night with eight three-pointers on the way to 36 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists.

Riders’ loss came in a closely fought contest against Raiders who were ahead for most of the game, though never managed to pull away. GB captain Drew Sullivan kept the Riders in touch, and Zaire Taylor made it one point game with 30 second on the clock, but Matt Schneck wrapped the win from the foul line. Schneck led the Raiders’ scorers with 19 points, while Taylor led all scorers with 29 points.

Eagles are now one win clear of the Riders, but the Leicester side have a game in hand.

It was a good night for home sides on Friday as Sheffield beat Glasgow Rocks 83-74 and Manchester Giants defeated Cheshire Phoenix 85-83.

Micah Williams led the Sharks with 23 points, while Mike Tuck added 16. The visitors were led by Gareth Murray’s 16 points and 9 rebounds.

The Giants were led by a double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds from Ben Eaves, ably supported by 19 points from David Watts. Gabriele Haskins led all scorers, in vain for the visitors, scoring 31 points.

There was another close contest on Sunday at the Northgate Arena, where Cheshire Phoenix edged home 80-79 against Sheffield 80-79. Jerome Gumbs hit the winning free-throw with 1.9 seconds remaining to take his personal tally to 22 points. Phoenix’s Gabe Haskins led all scorers with 26 points, while BJ Holmes was hot from behind the three-point line to lead Sharks with 24.

Finally Gareth Murray fired 21 points as Glasgow Rocks mauled Mersey Tigers 109-72 at the Emirates Arena to move up to sixth in the British Basketball League.

It brought an end to the Scots’ December skid and they ran up their biggest tally of the season so far against the BBL’s whipping boys who have now lost 15 out of 15.

And Sterling Davis’ men never looked back after going on a 22-3 run on the first half to leave Mersey down and out.

Davis said: “I just wanted us to get back to some good habits. That was more important than who the opponent was. The main thing is we got a win after losing three on the bounce.”

Glasgow led 54-35 at half-time but turned the screw on the visitors with a second half blitz that saw them trail by as much as 42 in the closing minutes.

Mersey, who were led by 22 points from Belgian guard Gael Hulson, have signed centre Phil Waite from London Lions.

“He’s a lad from Manchester, seven foot, homegrown talent,” said Tigers coach Tony Walsh. “He doesn’t really suit the run and gun style they play in London and he’s a big man who posts up well. He’s looking forward to it. When players are looking to come to teams because they can see a future, I’m doing my job well.”

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