The Newcastle Eagles extended their lead at the top of the BBL Championship as they won their thirteenth consecutive game in beating fellow top-four contenders the Cheshire Jets by 100-81. Newcastle’s winning run dates back to October, when they were defeated by the Jets. Cheshire have lost three of their last four, with crucial defeats against other top-four rivals Mersey and Glasgow.
Charles Smith led the Eagles with a haul of 36 points and 9 rebounds, while Trey Moore was close to another triple-double with 26 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
There were five lead changes in the first five minutes before the Eagles pulled away to an 18-13 lead, on a Trey Moore score, that they would maintain through to the end of the game. Three points in a row from Bell out of a time out made it 18-16, but that run was snapped as Smith helped see the Eagles into a 23-20 first quarter lead.
Smith got the Eagles going in the second and they pushed the lead out to 33-24, a run that included a Trey Moore triple, before Jeremy Bell responded in kind for the Jets. That sparked the Jets and scores from Murray and Greer tied the game at 35 after a 6-0 burst midway through the quarter. But Bridge got the Eagles going again with a three-pointer before Smith made it a 7-0 burst with consecutive scores, taking his personal total to 21 in the first twenty minutes. The Eagles maintained their lead through to half time at 48-40.
The Eagles came out of the locker room with a 6-0 burst, including two big plays from Kadiri Richard, to push the lead out to double-digits at 54-40. The lead was still 70-55 on a Joe Chapman triple inside the last three minutes of the period and they led 75-62 heading into the fourth.
Charles Smith hit a three-pointer to open the decisive period and settle his team, and he hit a second soon after for his 31st point and a lead of almost twenty at 83-64. The lead went through the twenty point mark at 88-66 on another Smith triple. From there the Eagles cruised to victory, with Bridge’s basket sending them through the century with 30 seconds to play.