Charles Smith hailed Newcastle Eagles' victory over title rivals Leicester Riders

Charles Smith declared his delight after Newcastle Eagles’' 84-82 victory over major rivals Leicester Riders - admitting they finally "got the monkey off their back"

Simon Hobson Newcastle Eagles' Charles Smith
Newcastle Eagles' Charles Smith

Charles Smith declared his delight after Newcastle Eagles’' 84-82 victory over major rivals Leicester Riders - admitting they finally "got the monkey off their back."

The win keeps the race for the BBL title wide open, with the Eagles right back in the mix.

Newcastle were superbly led by Darius Defoe, who sunk a jump shot with 5.4 seconds left to beat the Riders at the seventh time of asking.

Smith added: “It was a good game and went back and forth.

“I don’t think we played as well as we have been in the last two weeks and that’s not good – but we gained the win and that was important.

“With the guys being injured we haven’t had the numbers in practice to go up and down all week so we knew we were going to be a little rusty and have some turnovers - but we weathered the storm.

“Then we nearly let it slip in the end but managed to turn it back around. Jay Couisnard (of Riders) went off on one towards the end and was making unbelievable shots which dragged them back in front.

“We managed to get the ball out of his hands, got some defensive stops and then Darius came up with big plays on the glass at the other end and we were able to finish it off.

“We nearly gave it away as we gave probably the best shooter in the gym (Harrison Gamble) the chance of the three to win it but he missed and we grabbed the rebound and held on.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer