BBL Championship (OT)
Newcastle Eagles 98 (31, 42, 60, 81) (Smith 29, Martin 21, Fletcher 19)
Leeds Force 91 (25, 49, 58, 81) (McCann 22, Hall 19, Anebo 18)
Newcastle Eagles demonstrated their championship quality once more with a battling 98-91 overtime triumph against Leeds Force on Friday to close within one win of the title.
Fab Flournoy returned to the bench for the first time since tearing his achilles in the BBL Trophy Final for his 600th game in charge.
He was still unable to play, however, and was also without Andre Jones, Darius Defoe and Drew Lasker.
The short-handed Eagles slipped 10 points behind in the third quarter when Branimir Mikulic connected on a three-pointer.
They battled back but went into the final 14 seconds three points down following a Dwayne Camille triple and two foul shots from James McCann.
But Scott Martin responded with two made free throws of his own. This gave Rahmon Fletcher the chance to win it at the line in the final five seconds, but the point guard split the pair and the game went to overtime.
Charles Smith scored the first four points of the extra session to set the tone and Force eventually ran out of steam despite 22 points from McCann.
Smith finished with 29 points while there were double-doubles for Martin and Andrew Thomson. Eagles now require just one more win to retain the BBL Championship.