BBL Cup, Quarter Final
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 95 (24,48,73) (Jackman 26, Defoe 18, Flournoy 11)
Cheshire Phoenix 84 (21,45,62) (Brown Jr 42, May-Thompson 17, Mosley 9)
A strong second half performance, in which Orlan Jackman was dominant, saw Esh Group Eagles Newcastle into the BBL Cup semi-finals as a 95-84 defeat of Cheshire Phoenix set them in pursuit of a third consecutive title.
Jackman scored 26 points, shooting 90% – missing only once – including a perfect 5/5 from three-point range, and snatching seven rebounds. Phoenix were over-reliant on Earl Brown Jr, whose huge haul of 42 points is the highest for any player in the BBL so far this season.
In a tight first half, five points in a row from Brown Jr gave the visitors an edge at 33-31 after six first quarter points from Darius Defoe – who finished with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds – had put Newcastle in the ascendancy.
But a big score from Jackman just before the half put Eagles in front for good, sparked by an ‘and-one’ play as he hit six in a row and they led 48-45 after a high-scoring half, between two of the league’s highest-scoring teams.
Defoe scored another six in an 8-2 opening to the third period, and the Eagles took what proved to be an unassailable lead when Jackman netted seven in a row to send it into double-figures at 68-57. And Newcastle were never going to let that sort of advantage slip on their home floor as, in the fourth quarter, Jackman hit back-to-back three-pointers to see the lead reach its peak at 89-71 after eight unanswered points.
It is the second year in a row that Eagles have knocked Phoenix out of the BBL Cup en route to the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, and they have featured in all of the last five finals.