nick george 568Newcastle Eagles strengthened their grip on top spot in the BBL Championship table after a dominant second half performance saw them beat Manchester 88-67. But the Giants have some help at hand.

The visitors can take some hope with former Great Britain forward Nick George confirming he has joined his hometown team on an initial one-month deal after his recent departure from Swiss side Lugano.

“It’s a philosophy that we’ve adopted for the first two years of our existence that any Manchester kid who has the ability and pedigree, we’ll provide an opportunity for them to play in the BBL,” said Giants coach Jeff Jones. “Nick’s wanted to come home for a while. He had some decent job opportunities in Europe but due to an unfortunate injury, it’s come up lucky for us. We’re looking forward to getting him on the court as soon as possible.”

The Eagles were led by Joe Chapman’s 20 points, with Darius Defoe adding 18 points and 12 rebounds. But 

They didn’t have it all their own way as they had to bounce back from a first quarter shock. David Watts opened the scoring with a three-pointer for the visitors and they went on to establish a 14-4 lead on a James Jones triple.

The Eagles came out of a timeout with 7 straight points, including Damon Huffman’s three, and the writing was on the wall when they held their visitors scoreless for the last four minutes of the first period.
The teams exchanged baskets in the second quarter, although Huffman’s buzzer-beating three-pointer gave the Eagles the momentum heading into the second half at 41-38.

And it was after the break when they made the decisive move as Chapman, Defoe and Maddox registered the only scores in the first three and a half minutes as they led 49-42, establishing a cushion for the first time in the game. And that was the foundation upon which they built to go on and win the game as their run continued out to 60-46, with Defoe scoring 4 more.

The Eagles had doubled their visitors’ score in the third quarter, and led 65-50 at the opening of the fourth. And Joe Chapman opened the final period with a three-pointer to all but bury the Giants.

Plymouth Raiders crushed Mersey Tigers 103-65 behind Michael Ojo’s game-high to 34 points.

The winless Tigers had led early on, until they were held scoreless four minutes as the Raiders poured in 12 straight points, sparked by Matt Schneck and including back-to-back three-pointers for Ojo, the visitors leading 27-16 after ten minutes.

The Tigers got back to within 9 in the second stanza, but they were halted immediately by another Ojo triple as he moved to 17 points in just 15 minutes. And that sparked the run that settled the game as the Raiders went on a 21-4 surge over a four minute period to put the guests 58-29 ahead at half-time and beyond reach.

Donald Robinson fired a game-high 25 points as Glasgow Rocks drubbed London Lions 88-78 at Crystal Palace. And Sterling Davis’ men overcame their recent fourth quarter jitters, hitting 11 of the game’s final 12 points as they swept past their hosts.

It was a welcome boost for Davis as his team held their nerve in a tie which tilted back and forth, with Glasgow building a 41-29 cushion in the second period before London hit back to trail 37-34 at half-time.

The Lions, paced by 24 points from Tayo Ogedengbe, retained a slender cushion with three minutes left. But a three-pointer from Andy Wedemire sparked an 8-0 burst from the Rocks that proved decisive.


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