Newcastle Eagles 94 (13,43,63) (Smith 31, Defoe/Maddox 18)
Surrey Heat 100 (26,55,82) (T Holmes 19, Joseph 18, C Holmes 15)
Surrey Heat made the long trip to the North East on Friday night and came away with the impressive 94-100 victory over the Newcastle Eagles at Sport Central, forciing a third loss at home in a row for the Eagles, their worst home run in a decade.
The Heat’s victory keeps them firmly in fifth position in the table, but level on points with the Marjon Plymouth Raiders in fourth place.
The visitors started the game strongly as they opened up an early 2-9 lead at the start of the contest. The home side took a little while to get into the game, but they kept themselves within touching distance as the teams traded baskets through the middle of the opening quarter. The Heat extended their lead as the period drew to a close and a Peter Simek basket saw the visitors take a commanding 13-26 lead into the second quarter.
A 10-2 start to the second period from the Heat saw the visitors continue their strong play as they opened up a 21-point advantage over their hosts at 15-36 with two minutes gone. The Eagles tried everything that they could muster to get themselves back into the contest, and a Charles Smith three-pointer bought them to within nine points at 43-52 inside the final minute of the half, but a Julius Joseph (pictured) three-pointer in response closed out the second quarter with the teams heading into the locker rooms with the Heat up by 12 points at 43-55 at the half.
In the second half, a 15-4 run for the Heat midway through the third quarter extended the visitors lead back out to 21 points at 49-70, but the Eagles responsed with a small 7-0 burst to get back to within 14 points at 56-70, but that was as close as they would get for the remainder of the period as the Heat continued to extend their lead and headed into the final stanza leading by an impressive 19 points at 63-82.
In the final quarter, a pair of Darius Defoe free-throws sparked the Eagles into life as they went on a 16-0 start to the period to trim the deficit back to just three points at 79-82 with 5:13 remaining in the game.
A Smith basket a minute later got the home side back to within a point at 83-84, but that was as close as they would get as the Heat started to rally in the closing stages and kept their opponents at bay despite the best efforts of Kareem Maddox who’s basket with 1:55 remaining bought the home side back to within two points once again at 87-89.
The Heat rallied again and secured the victory thanks to an 11-3 burst to take the score out to 90-100 with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game and they held on for the all-important victory.
Travis Holmes led the scoring for the Heat with 19 points personal in the victory, but it was Smith’s 31-point haul for the Eagles that led all scorers on the night.