Newcastle Eagles 92, Worcester Wolves 73

FABULOUS Flournoy turned over old enemy Skouson Harker last night as the Eagles extended their lead at the top of the BBL, writes DAN WARBURTON.

FABULOUS Flournoy turned over old enemy Skouson Harker last night as the Eagles extended their lead at the top of the BBL.

The Tynesiders have not lost a game since their opening night defeat to Guildford Heat and extended that run to nine consecutive wins under the bright lights of the Metro Radio Arena.

Those expecting fireworks were disappointed as Flournoy re-ignited his feud with the former Birmingham Bullets man. Instead the battle simmered quietly but never came to the boil as the pair looked to settle the score – but it was the Eagles who finally closed out a 19-point win.

In truth it was Flournoy who shied away from the battle. The BBL veteran opted out of coming toe-to-toe with the Wolves player-coach, instead choosing to sit court-side and watch as his team-mates got proceedings under way.

Anthony Paez and Shaun Durant gave the home side a scare as they pushed the visitors into an early four-point lead – but it was not long before the Eagles regained control. Olu Babalola was given a rare spot in Flournoy’s starting five, and he rewarded his coach’s confidence by quickly finding his feet – and the basket.

The colossal Clemson graduate secured nine points en-route to obtaining a game-high of 18 as the Eagles nestled into the game. And coupled with Lynard Stewart’s first quarter tally of six points, the home side fizzed with pace and fluency. In total the Temple graduate reached a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Eagles charge.

While Flournoy’s men ran rampant, Harker struggled to find his form. The former Birmingham man failed to find the net in the first period and his impact on Tyneside was less than inspirational.

The home-court team began the second period with a modest 30-14 point advantage, and at one stage the lead was as much as 21 points. But as has been their problem on a number of occasions this year, the Eagles took their foot off the pedal.

A 9-2 Wolves run cut the advantage to just 10 points and prompted Flournoy to call crisis talks.

The BBL veteran called a time-out with only two minutes left on the clock in the second quarter. The resulting charge effectively ended the contest as skipper Andrew Bridge and Darius Defoe combined to put the game out of reach for the visitors.

The second quarter ended 48-37 and Charles Smith and Babalola again came out all guns blazing to claim valuable points. Harker then came to life – notching up eight points as he tried to salvage a game that was already lost. Paez also featured heavily for the Wolves scooping 16 points in total, but it all proved too much for a limp travelling roster. The only conflict in an Eagles win that seemed a formality was the animosity shown by Bridge after a reckless foul by Harker.

As the Eagles’ captain steamed towards the basket, Harker slammed into his back, leaving Bridge sprawled across the paint.

But Midgley gave the win added gloss as he sunk huge back-to-back three pointers in the final period.

TOP SCORERS

NEWCASTLE EAGLES: Olu Babalola 18, Lynard Stewart 16, Charles Smith 11.

WORCESTER WOLVES: Skouson Harker 16, James Life 16, Anthony Paez 16.

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