Jordan Johnson bookended a brilliant fourth quarter display with pivotal plays to bag a game high 26 points and lead the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles to a battling road win.
Clutch baskets down the stretch from the former Caledonia Gladiator papered over a few early season cracks as the visitors struggled at the bonus stripe and from beyond the arc.
But head coach Marc Steutel will be relieved his Eagles found a way to pick up a vital Championship victory as Johnson and Tajh Green took big double doubles back to Tyneside.
Fast starts have become a feature of a newly dynamic Newcastle roster and for the second week on the bounce the men in black flew out of the blocks.
A stunned Bristol found themselves 14-4 down midway through the opening period with the much talked about Green racing to nine quick points.
But the Flyers fought their way back into an instantly absorbing clash and finally hit the front on the first quarter buzzer thanks to an arcing Tevin Olison triple.
A humdinger of a regular season match-up was anything but predictable as multiple lead changes kept the SGS College Arena crowd guessing.
Former Eagle Rowell Graham-Bell marked his Bristol debut with a big three-pointer seconds before the half.
And it required a rapid response from Newcastle’s former G-Leaguer Devin Whitfield to tie a top-flight thriller 43-43 and cap an all-action opening 20 minutes.
Steutel must have been delighted with his side’s dominance under the boards as the visitors outrebounded the Flyers 27-16 in the first half.
But Graham-Bell robbed Austin Jr before slamming down a highlights-reel dunk to open up a 54-49 Bristol lead six minutes into the third quarter.
As the Eagles’ offence dried up, Newcastle found themselves eight points adrift with 10 minutes on the clock.
But Johnson ran the show in the final quarter to ensure Steutel’s men remain unbeaten at the start of what promises to be a fascinating season.
The Eagles return home to the Vertu Motors Arena next Friday as they welcome the Cheshire Phoenix, with tickets available via the box office.