Woeful Eagles warned by Fab

Fab Flournoy has warned his side that they must learn how to win as a team - and quickly - after they were edged out 81-76 in an overtime thriller against the Scottish Rocks last night.

Fab Flournoy has warned his side that they must learn how to win as a team - and quickly - after they were edged out 81-76 in an overtime thriller against the Scottish Rocks last night.

While TJ Walker had the chance to snatch victory with a free-throw in regulation time, a win would have been thoroughly undeserved and merely papering over some rather worrying cracks.

The near-4,000 crowd were treated to a nail-biter but that will be of scant comfort to the reigning BBL champions who are now staring firmly down the barrel of a 1-4 record should they lose at Guildford tomorrow - a fact not lost on Flournoy.

He admitted: "We were poor in the first half and particularly terrible in the second quarter, and it shows us all how far we still have to go to reach the level we need.

"This game really highlighted the lack of consistency that I have spoken of recently. We have to learn how to play together and win as a team.

"I don't think it is a gelling or chemistry issue at all and the only real positives are that we did fight back and we have the chance to pick ourselves up at Guildford.

"However, we know that will be a really difficult game but we will have to look at ourselves and try to learn from this and move forward.

"We don't have a lot of time but we have no choice but to come out fighting."

In truth, both teams looked poor - hard to comprehend considering their titanic battle for the title last year. Indeed, the Rocks arrived in Newcastle without a win, and having now secured it, they find themselves with the same record as the Eagles.

Whilst the script had Jeremy Hyatt pencilled in for a heroic return, it was Great Britain star Julius Joseph who made the difference, shrugging off his shock omission from the Rocks starting five to hit a game-high 24 points coming off the bench.

Newcastle were quite simply abject in a torrid first half as they fell apart having briefly led in the opening minutes. At half-time they had recorded a paltry 24 points and trailed 41-24.

Still trailing in the final quarter, the Eagles must be given some credit for a stirring comeback.

Nevertheless Flournoy, who fouled out of the game, will be furious that having forced overtime courtesy of a sensational TJ Walker basket that briefly sent the Arena into a frenzy, his side then unforgivably repeated their mistakes of the first half.

"It is difficult to stomach losing in this manner because although we played well in parts we just didn't take our opportunities and kept making the same mistakes over and over again," he said.

"Even when we were given a second chance in overtime we didn't take it, and that is a bitter pill to have to swallow for us.

"If we don't find that consistency then we have to face the consequences."

SPRINGFIELD HONDA NEWCASTLE EAGLES 76 (12, 24, 46, 66) Robinson 18, Babalola 14, Walker 13.

SCOTTISH PHOENIX HONDA RECORD ROCKS 81 (22, 41, 57, 66) Joseph 24, Davis 16, Hampton 16. After overtime.

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