Manchester Giants 82 (24,37,61) (J Jones 21, Gill 20, Marsden 19)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 83 (21,41,72) (Cooke 23, Defoe 15, Smith 14)
A Malik Cooke (pictured) two with 45 seconds to play to put the title destiny in Esh Group Eagles Newcastle hands with victory at Manchester Giants.
Manchester had edged in front on Stefan Gill’s three with 1.13 to play but Cooke’s basket ensured the visitors came out on top 83-82. Cooke top scored with 23 points while Giants were led by 21 from James Jones.
Coupled with One Health Sharks Sheffield’s win at Worcester Wolves both Newcastle and Sheffield have the title in their own hands – the two meet next Friday in the north-east.
Tied at 17-17 in the first quarter a three by Stefan Gill set the Giants on a 7-2 run before Eagles Stuart Thompson had the last score of the period to bring it back to 24-21.
Newcastle made their move in the second quarter to level the scores at 31-31 on their way to a 41-37 half time lead.
Better was to come in the third as back-to-back Charles Smith threes, and then the same from Paul Gause, followed by another Smith three contributed to a 71-62 advantage heading into the final period. Manchester wouldn’t go away though and a 6-0 run tied the match at 71-71.
Two free throws from Callum Jones gave Giants a 77-75 lead and two from the line by Gill made it 79-77. Twos from Fab Flournoy and Cooke edged Newcastle back in front before Gill’s triple looked like it had won the game for Manchester.
However, Cooke had the last word as James Jones’ three on the buzzer missed.