BBL Cup Final Glasgow Rocks 71 (15, 29, 51) (JaJuan Smith 17, Achara 16, Egwuonwu 10) Newcastle Eagles 84 (15, 40, 60) (Charles Smith 21, Jones 17, Fletcher 15)
Newcastle Eagles claimed their third BBL Cup success with an 84-71 defeat of Glasgow Rocks in a high-octane final at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Sunday.
Eagles had lost out in the previous two finals, but avenged those defeats, overpowering Rocks behind an MVP performance from Rahmon Fletcher, who finished with 15 points, four assists and four rebounds.
For Glasgow, their 12-year wait for a trophy goes on as they lost their fourth Cup final, despite a spirited display, which included a 16-point, 11-rebound return from Kieron Achara.
It was Fletcher who sparked the game into life following a cagey opening as he connected on back-to-back drives to the basket.
Eagles led by five until player-coach Sterling Davis drained a three-pointer and added a forceful put-back either side of good play inside from Paul Egwuonwu.
Charles Smith curtailed that momentum however, completing an and-one play to ensure the first period ended level.
Eagles carried that into the second period as Charles Smith prevented an easy score for Danny Huffor with an excellent chase-down block, before scoring from long-range to open a seven-point lead.
JaJuan Smith answered right back with a three-pointer, despite a hand in his face, and Achara added a pair of big dunks.
But the slashing and finishing of Fletcher and Jones, allied with increased defensive pressure, was the difference at half-time, Eagles leading 40-29.
Rocks’ response did not get off to the best of starts after the break, as they committed three turnovers in quick succession.
But this appeared to refocus Davis’ men, and Achara and JaJuan Smith led the resistance, creating opportunities with offensive rebounds and pushing the pace.
Eagles came back once more as Charles Smith really began to find his touch, but a triple from Tommy Freeman late in the third kept Rocks in touch, and full of hope.
But as nerves crept in and mistakes followed for both teams, the steady scoring hand of Charles Smith got Eagles out of trouble on more than one occasion, and Jones’ energy only added to Glasgow’s problems.
While Eagles remained out in front, the finishing blow eluded them, that is until Charles Smith connected from the corner to put the result beyond doubt, with just over a minute to play.
Fletcher was the driving force behind the success, but Eagles’ consistent scoring from all over the floor was too much for Glasgow, who were paced by 17 points from JaJuan Smith.