Milton Keynes Lions 86, Newcastle Eagles 71

Last week at Sheffield the Newcastle Eagles had justifiable claims that they were cheated out of a win.

Last week at Sheffield the Newcastle Eagles had justifiable claims that they were cheated out of a win. There could be no complaints of excuses for Newcastle last night as a lacklustre and disjointed display saw them crash to a second defeat of the season at Milton Keynes.

There has been lots of talk before the game that this was an ageing Lions side but it was the Eagles who looked the more weary throughout the full 40 minutes.

In the first quarter the Lions made the quicker start and ex-Eagle Tony Windless led the way, backed up by lightning-quick point guard Terrell Brown and it was these two in particular who caused the Eagles problems.

Darius Defoe had the first six points for Newcastle but after that a series of missed Eagles lay-ups and dominant inside play by the Lions saw the home side 19-14 ahead after the first.

The second quarter was an X-rated horror show for Fab Flournoy's men. Brown and Windless had their way with a Newcastle defence that could just not stop them. With ex-Eagles coach Tom Hancock marshalling his troops superbly, the Lions retained a freshness that saw them cut the Eagles to ribbons.

Newcastle being forced into too many tough shots and gave the ball away too often as the turnover count rose. The Lions took the quarter 32-13 and went into the locker room with an incredible 51-27 lead. It was a very dispirited Eagles side that left the court with their heads bowed.

It the Eagles were hoping for a miracle comeback in the second half it soon became apparent that it was not to be as Lions continued relentlessly and opened a 30-point gap at one point.

Flournoy tried to breathe life into his off-colour side and they managed a 15-5 finish to the quarter but Lions still held sway by 20 at 71-51 with 10 minutes to go.

Milton Keynes comfortably held Newcastle at bay with smart play and good rotation in the last quarter. The Eagles' play was not smart and their lack of depth on the bench showed although rookie Tom Sherlock did provide one brief glimpse of promise for the away side, though scoring the last seven points of the game to make the final score 86-71 was not enough for the Eagles to make the scoreline look respectable.

The Eagles now need to take a long hard look at themselves. Without taking anything away from the Lions it has to be said that it is a long time since Newcastle have played this poorly. Talk has been that the Eagles maybe about to bring in one or two new faces and rumours are sweeping about who they may be. The truth is that too many Eagles were off the pace last night and with a 0-2 start to the season managing director Paul Blake and coach Flournoy must address the situation now.

Journalists

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