Durham Wildcats 73 (19, 39, 55) (Puk 18, Attah 12, Jones 12) Newcastle Eagles 99 (23, 43, 71) (Defoe 27, Smith 17, Martin 15)
Newcastle Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy celebrated reaching 4,000 career points in the BBL with a 100-73 victory at Durham Wildcats on Sunday – Eagles’ first win of the season.
The game was nip-and-tuck for much of the first half with Eagles coming off an opening night home defeat against title rivals Worcester Wolves while Wildcats split their opening pair, beating Leeds Force having lost to Sheffield Sharks.
Neither team could establish control before half-time as Flournoy’s second-quarter field goal saw him reach his scoring milestone.
But the reigning champions showed their class in the third quarter. Wildcats were within one at 52-53 off-the-back of a John Puk jump shot, before the visitors closed the quarter on a 19-2 run.
This started with a Darius Defoe and-one play, as he was fouled while dunking and made the extra shot, and punctuated by back-to-back triples from Charles Smith and Stuart Thomson.
Defoe scored seven of his game-high 27 points in that decisive sequence as his diligent work in the painted area secured him regular good looks at the basket.
Puk too was impressive, finishing with 18 points, albeit it in a losing effort.