Airwaves Plymouth Raiders 73 (21,39,56) (Beasley 23, Martin 14, Moore 10)
Newcastle Eagles 91 (22,47,71) (Moore 28, Defoe 16, Bridge 15)
The Newcastle Eagles joined the Everton Tigers at the summit of the BBL Championship table after a 73-91 defeat of the Airwaves Plymouth Raiders; the win sent a message to the Tigers, who scraped past the Raiders by two points on Friday night. Newcastle have now won four straight games against the Raiders, stretching back eighteen months. Plymouth, after preserving an unbeaten home record for almost a year, fell to their second consecutive defeat at the Plymouth Pavilions.
Trey Moore led all scorers with 28 points, whilst British pair Darius Defoe (16) and Andrew Bridge (15) backed him up. DeAntoine Beasley led the resistance with 23 points in vain.
The early exchanges were a fair reflection of these teams’ standings in second and third place in the BBL Championship, as there were six lead changes in a tight first quarter. The Eagles held the largest early lead at 13-18 after 6 straight points, but were pegged back to lead by just one at 21-22 by the end of the period.
There were a further four lead changes in the second as the teams were not separated by more than three points up to 35-32 in the home team’s favour. However, the reigning champions broke the game open from that point with a commanding 15-2 burst to close out the half with a 39-47 lead.
The run continued in the third as the Eagles opened with a 14-4 tear, meaning they had gone 29-6 over the break, as an Andrew Bridge triple and two free-throws from Trey Moore made the lead 43-61. It was a twenty-point gap soon afterwards, before the Raiders scored the last five points of the quarter, including a buzzer-beating triple from Anthony Martin, to make the score 56-71 going into the decisive stanza.
The Eagles dispelled any thoughts of a comeback with the first 6 points of the fourth period, including 4 for Defoe, and it was only the scoring of the last 6 points of the game that rescued the Raiders from their heaviest ever BBL defeat against a Newcastle team.