BBL Cup Final
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 94 (25,41,66) (Fletcher 18, Chapman 17, Smith 15)
Leicester Riders 82 (28,50,76) (Wright/Sullivan 14, Gruis 12)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle pulled off a remarkable comeback from 14 points down in the third to defeat Leicester Riders 94-82, and retain their BBL Cup title.
Riders looked in the ascendancy when they established a 68-54 lead in the third, but the Eagles rallied to set up a tense finish before powering to victory with a clinical 13-2 close.
Rahmon Fletcher was instrumental for his side, and picked up the MVP award for the second year in a row with 18 points along with four assists.
Defences were expected to be key leading into the anticipated showdown, but both teams found ways to execute on the offensive end in a high scoring opening period with Riders finding most of their success inside to build an early advantage.
Joe Chapman had closed the gap with seven of his 17 points in quick succession, before Charles Smith scored four of the opening six points in the second to fire Newcastle in front.
TrayVonn Wright began to display his athleticism with four dunks on his way to nine points in the quarter, while Conner Washington provided his usual spark from the bench with five points to help Leicester into a double-digit lead at 50-39 before the half.
Eagles had gone 2-of-14 from 3-point range in the first half, and although they shot better from beyond the arc in the third, the Riders matched their opponents and appeared to be pulling away as they opened up a 14-point cushion
However, back came the defending champions and all of a sudden it was a two-point game on the back of a 12-0 run. The comeback was complete in the early stages of the fourth as the Eagles moved ahead with Drew Lasker scoring four points in a 7-0 burst.
Leicester kept it close and were down one with more than three minutes still remaining, but the Eagles showed their mark as champions with a title-winning win.
Newcastle had six different players in double figures as they achieved a fifth consecutive piece of silverware in the BBL, and continued their winning streak this season.