Newcastle Eagles are own worst enemy against Worcester Wolves

Newcastle Eagles were their own worst enemy as they were felled by BBL Championship leaders Worcester Wolves at Sport Central

Malik Cooke in action for Newcastle Eagles
Malik Cooke in action for Newcastle Eagles

The Eagles’ woeful 35% shooting cost them dearly against the top side in league and Worcester were deserving of the win.

Newcastle started in their usual bullish way, predominantly through forward Darius Defoe, who shot a perfect eight points inside four minutes of action.

An early lead for the home side was cut short midway through the first quarter as Worcester nudged themselves ahead 15-20.

The period ended on an unimpressive note for Newcastle as they wasted an easy basket, only for Worcester to reap the rewards on the other end – Newcastle trailed 22-29 after the opening 10 minutes.

The Eagles’ frustration mounted in the second quarter as their ball handling and persistent travelling continued to allow the visitors easy turnovers.

Both teams traded possessions and turnovers in what was not only a frustrating period for the home side, but for the Sport Central fans, who saw neither team shoot more than 36% in the first half.

Newcastle regained the lead with two minutes left in the second quarter and pressed on with a surge to go into the break 44-40 after outscoring the visitors 22-11 in that period.

It was by no means a pretty spectacle to behold for either set of supporters, but while the opening exchanges belonged partly to Worcester, the end of the first definitely belonged to Newcastle.

Unusually for the Eagles, they only took 12 shots from distance in the first two periods and outscored the usually dominant Wolves 22-14 inside the paint.

Fortunately for the baying Eagles crowd – who were growing more in voice as the game progressed – their side picked up the second half where they left the first.

And fortunately for Newcastle, the Wolves continued to struggle with their open court shooting.

Midway through the third quarter the teams were still trading baskets, but importantly the Eagles continued to keep their noses in front – 54-48.

A couple of ill-advised shots from Newcastle opened the door for the Wolves and a Zaire Taylor three-pointer brought Worcester to within a shot at 54-51.

Taylor then sent the Wolves in to the lead, and backed up with some free throws, saw his side take the advantage going in to the fourth and final quarter 58-59.

Newcastle came out meaning business in the final period and instantly regained their slender edge after Charles Smith hit a mid-range jumper.

Flournoy’s message in the early part of the season has been that his side needs to rebound the ball better, and it seemed to pay off the in the opening exchanges of the final quarter.

Once again it was Zaire Taylor, though, who stepped up and nailed another shot from distance to cancel the deadlock and give his side the lead 63-66 with 6.30 left in the game.

Worcester began to find their range just at the wrong time for Newcastle as they started to reign shots from distance, and led 63-72 with half of the fourth gone.

A Malik Cooke lay-up with 3.31 minutes left took the score to 65-72 and ended a run of nine straight points for Worcester.

But ultimately the Eagles’ woeful shooting cost them dearly and they succumbed 71-80.

Journalists

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