The Springfield Honda Newcastle Eagles notched up their expected road win at City of Edinburgh Kings in the BBL Trophy group game last night. The win sets up a mouth-watering group decider against the Scottish Rocks at the Metro Radio Arena next Friday night.
Despite being without backcourt duo TJ Walker and Jeremy Hyatt, the Eagles dominated the opposition and were led by an excellent performance from Darius Defoe whose 31 points included several spectacular dunks.
Olu Babalola opened the scoring for the Eagles but the home side showed good early aggression and were 13-9 up at one stage against their more illustrious opponents. Indeed with four minutes to go in the first the sides were still level.
However a 16-0 Eagles run restored normal service and when Fab Flournoy made a basket on the buzzer the Eagles led 33-19.
In the second period the Eagles consolidated their lead with a 9-3 run that took them 20 points in front.
Brian McCotter scored the last two of those nine meaning with eight minutes to play in the first all eight Eagles were on the scoresheet.
Kings dug in and Eagles became a little sloppy when they should have looked to pull away.
However a 12-3 spurt to see out the quarter gave them a 26-points lead at 60-34 at half time.
A 3-2 opening for the second half by Kings was answered by the Eagles with a 15-2 run to put the game away at 77-39.
During that run Defoe took his tally to 25 and the Eagles restricted the home side to 10 points in the quarter.
The final quarter saw a tiring Kings unable to maintain the pace with the Eagles who defended well and broke quickly to forge further ahead.
Newcastle closed out the game with a 17-4 run to make the final score 109-57.
Coach Flournoy knows his team have much sterner tests ahead and this coming weekend against Scottish Rocks in both the BBL Trophy and Cup will go a long way to determine what kind of season the Eagles will have.
Newcastle eagles: Darius Defoe 31, Olu Babalola 18, Shawan Robinson 18.