Newcastle Eagles 105 (23,52,78) (Babalola 21, Defoe 20, Leven 15)
Worcester Wolves 96 (18,51,67) (Life 29, Paez 24, Harker 20)
Three-time play-off champions Newcastle Eagles are back in the Final Four again after holding off a spirited performance by Worcester Wolves on Tyneside.
After four consecutive overtime matches to end the regular season the Eagles didn’t need an extra period to see off the Wolves but it was still a lengthy game with both sides suffering with foul trouble.
Eagles never trailed during a first quarter which they led 23-18 after ten minutes. A 4-0 run at the start of the second period opened up the night’s first serious lead at 27-18 before Wolves began to fight back.
A 12-0 burst handed the visitors their first lead of the night at 40-43 but it wouldn’t last for long as Eagles battled back to go in at half time 52-51 in front.
The match still hung in the balance deep into the third quarter until the Eagles suddenly broke it open. From 64-63 a 12-0 burst with five from Steve Leven and four from Ola Babalola helped Newcastle head into the final stanza 78-67 up.
Although the Wolves battled hard, and Newcastle lost several key players through fouls, the closest they could get was 89-82 on the back of two James Life free throws.
It was Life who led all-scorers with 29 while Babalola paced the Eagle effort with 21.