THE Eagles sealed a spot in the BBL Cup’s final four last night after destroying former Tyneside hero TJ Walker and his travelling Cheshire Jets roster.
Walker was not afforded the luxury of a comfortable return to Newcastle as his former employers crushed any aspirations of a semi- final appearance in his first season as player-coach of the Cheshire franchise.
Inspired by Olu Babalola in the closing stages, it was Lynard Stewart who sparked the Eagles’ early surge. The Temple graduate secured 10 first-quarter points en- route to a 20-point final tally.
Midway through the first period the home side had put a 12-point margin between themselves and Walker’s men.
And with only 10 minutes gone there was clear daylight between Flournoy’s roster and the visitors as they led 29-19. The Eagles’ colossal forward Babalola exploded into life in the third quarter as he tucked 13 points under his belt.
The former Clemson man, who is finding the basket on a consistently regular basis, put away 26 points and shocked the visitors with huge shots from inside the paint and from distance.
The only resistance to the Babalola-inspired Eagles’ rampage was Cheshire’s Shawn Myers who finished with a game-high total of 27 points.
But Flournoy’s men inevitably closed out a 17-point win to put their name in the hat for December’s semi-final draw alongside Milton Keynes, the Scottish Rocks and defending champions Guildford Heat. The Rocks and Plymouth Raiders, meanwhile, moved within two points of the top two in the British Basketball League with weekend wins.
The Raiders had to fight until the end against a brave London Capital on Saturday.
Raiders won 73-71 but had to endure a nervy finale which saw the home side scoring 10 unanswered points.
They now have 16 points while the Eagles and MK Lions are on 18.
The Rocks moved on to 16 points last night after a 98-82 home win over the Worcester Warriors.