The Newcastle Eagles took sole possession of top spot in the BBL Championship table as they won their sixth consecutive game in beating the Sheffield Sharks, early pace-setters in the league, by 61-72 at the English Institute of Sport.
Richard Midgley was influential once more with 25 points, including some decisive scores. Player/coach Fab Flournoy had 15 points for the Eagles, whilst former Shark Lynard Stewart added 10. Raymond McKeithan led Sheffield with 18.
A flurry of three-pointers opened the game as the Eagles led 6-3 on Charles Smith and Flournoy scores. Soon afterwards, a trio of free-throws from Justice Graham capped a 10-4 burst for the Sharks as they led 17-12, only for Midgley to hit all 6 points in a 6-2 finish to the first that brought the Eagles back to within one.
Stewart matched that as they came out from the break with 6 points of his own and a 21-24 lead that the Eagles wouldn’t relinquish. Jeremy Hyatt added 7 points before the half was out to give the visitors a 32-39 advantage.
The Sharks came out strongly in the third stanza and immediately closed the gap to 38-39 on an Anthony Virgil basket, but would only score 2 points in the remainder of the quarter as the Eagles closed it out with a decisive 12-2 surge, including 4 further points from Midgley.
The hosts worked to get back into the game in the fourth and a Shelby Chaney put-back concluded a run of 6 straight points that made it 54-59. However, Midgley was there again and his three-pointer with 3.12 left made the score 54-62 and the Sharks could get no closer.
Venue: EIS, Sheffield
Competition:- BBL Championship
Quarterscores:- 19-18, 32-39, 40-51
Final result:- 61-72
Officials:- Rogers Harrison, Steve Ellis, Steve Wheatcroft
Sharks: McKeithan 18, Graham 11, Parillon 10
Eagles: Midgley 25, Flournoy 15, Babalola/Stewart 10