BBL Championship Play Offs, Quarter-Finals (Second Leg)
Guildford Heat 83 (24,48,64), (McLemore 18, Hegamin 13, Joseph 12)
Newcastle Eagles 88 (17,40,59), (Jackson 24, Lasker 24, Smith 12, Defoe 12)
(Eagles win tie 192-180)
Newcastle Eagles had to really dig deep to emerge victorious from this quarter-final second leg as they made it into the BBL play-off semi-finals but not before receiving an almighty scare by the Heat.
The home side overturned the seven point deficit from the first leg 24 hours earlier within four minutes as they raced into a 10-2 lead. The tie was all square heading towards the end of the first quarter as Julius Joseph kept the hosts in front at 18-11 after two free-throws and that margin remained after ten minutes had elapsed.
Heat led 24-17 as the Eagles struggled to cope with the swarming Heat defence which saw them double-team the red-hot Reggie Jackson at every opportunity and force the visitors into seven first quarter turnovers.
However it was a much different Eagles team that emerged after the quarter break as they posted a 10-2 run with Fab Flournoy handing his team the lead for the first time in the contest. Heat then responded with seven unanswered points and that was to turn into a monstrous 18-4 run which handed the home team a convincing lead in not only the game but also the tie. They found themselves 44-31 ahead after five points in a row by the energetic Tayo Ogedengbe.
Reggie Jackson broke the drought for Flournoy and his team and a mini 9-4 revival which gave them heart heading into the locker room eight points down on the night but by just one point in the tie at 48-40.
Flournoy opened the account for his team in the second half but the six point gap was doubled by Heat inside the next 90 seconds as they went 12 up at 54-42. Newcastle needed to dig deep and they did with Drew Lasker impressing to help his team rattle off 8 points in a row but a fourth foul on the influential Charles Smith shortly afterwards looked like it might prove costly.
Heat were 64-56 up with seconds to play in the third and looking good but a buzzer-beating downtown score by that man Lasker gave the Eagles a huge boost heading into the last ten minutes of the tie.
They made full use of that momentum and eventually clawed back the remainder of the Heat lead to level the game at 74-74. Just when Heat needed one last push to really take things down to the wire, the Eagles showed they are made of stern stuff and took the lead in the game with 90 seconds left at 81-79.
That put them eight points ahead in the tie and they saw out the game safely to book a safe passage through to the semi-finals and bring an eventful season for the Heat to an end.
Backcourt partners Reggie Jackson and Drew Lasker did the damage for the Eagles as they each posted 24 points.