We must Bridge gap

Newcastle guard Andrew Bridge has admitted the Eagles are in danger of becoming also-rans if they do not improve quickly after going down 81-75 in Plymouth last night.

Newcastle guard Andrew Bridge has admitted the Eagles are in danger of becoming also-rans if they do not improve quickly after going down 81-75 in Plymouth last night.

The jubilation of Friday when the club revealed BBL legend Tony Dorsey as their latest acquisition has quickly turned to bitter disappointment with the reigning champions having now lost as many games as they have won after the first eight league games of the season.

Flournoy and his side were deal a huge blow prior to the clash when shooting ace Jeremy Hyatt was forced to stay at home after a late complication with his recent thigh problem meant he had to have blood drained from his leg.

Dorsey (pictured above) meanwhile, did play and recorded a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

But Bridge, who recorded 15 points, was quick to point to a failure to control the boards as key.

He said: "We need to make a decision as to whether we are going to be a championship team again or whether we are going to end up as also-rans.

"We have to make our move but it won't get any easier.

"We started the game brightly and really did play some good defence and then we completely lost our focus and allowed Plymouth to dominate us in rebounding, particularly offensively.

"It was very disappointing that we then made a huge effort and got ourselves back into the game after trailing at the half, but then we just made the same errors again and were killed on the boards.

"It certainly proved costly for us and was probably the main reason why we couldn't come away with a win."

Having traded baskets during the opening stages, both teams finished the first quarter with 16 points. In the second quarter the Raiders, who were searching for an impressive fourth straight win, restricted their visitors to just 10 points as posted a 37-26 half-time advantage.

After a half-time rollicking from Fab Flournoy, the Eagles came back into the game, thanks mainly to Shawan Robinson. They rattled off 29 third-quarter points to ensure a tied game at 55-55 to set up a thrilling finale.

The Raiders gained the advantage early in the fourth with an old-fashioned three-point play from Gaylon Moore and started to make their move with just over seven minutes remaining with the teams still tied. The Raiders then posted what was a pivotal 12-4 burst to lead 72-64.

However, the Eagles weren't done and after a Robinson score, they had it back down to a one-possession game at 76-73 with 24 seconds remaining. The Raiders held on as Gall netted two points, and with 8.8 seconds left, Andrew Lasker stole the ball and scored to seal the win.

Carlton Aaron had an outstanding night for the Raiders and was the difference between the sides, collecting a stunning 18 points and 20 rebounds to underline Newcastle's deficiencies in rebounding.

Bridge, meanwhile, still thinks the Springfield Honda- backed club can be a force this season and was already looking forward to what looks to be an intriguing double-header this weekend.

"We know Plymouth is a tough place to dig out a win but we must now just move forward and will have to try to re-focus this week because the weekend is going to be just as tough, if not more so," he said.

"We go to London on Saturday and then have to play against Sheffield at home the following day, so we know it will be a big test for us."

Plymouth Raiders 81 (16,37,55) (Aaron 18, Love 17, Moore 17)

Newcastle Eagles 75 (16,26,55) (Robinson 18, Bridge 15, Flournoy 13)


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