BBL Championship
UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders 70 (Schneck 22, Bell 18, Ojo 10)
Newcastle Eagles 73 (Maddox 24, Huffman 19, Chapman 11)

The only guarantee when these two BBL Championship clubs went head-to-head at the Pavilions, was that one was going to pick up a weekend loss double, providing a sizeable dent to their title prospects.

Raiders had lost on the road in London against the Lions, and the Eagles had been swept aside by Worcester 24 hours earlier.

With the added dimension of the recent BBL Cup semi-final between them to throw into the mix, it was never going to be anything other than a war of attrition and so it proved as the visitors dug out a priceless 73-70 success after a breathtaking late surge.

The Eagles knew they couldn’t run and gun with the Raiders without the injured Charles Smith in their team, and with Joe Chapman still yet to find his usual red-hot shooting form. And, that is exactly how it panned out as the visitors looked to use defence as the best form of attack.

This was an edgy game, although for long periods, it was Raiders who always had their noses in front. They led 19-17 after the first quarter and increased their advantage to five points at the interval after Michael Ojo knocked down a wide open triple.

When the Eagles began to get sloppy during the third quarter, it allowed Raiders to take a tighter grip on the game, playmaker Jeremy Bell calling the shots to good effect as the hosts went 49-38 ahead.

Still up by double-digits in the final period and with just six minutes left, it looked like Raiders were destined to ease their way to victory and avenge their BBL Cup exit when Javarris Barnett put his team 62-52 to the good.

But, the Eagles weren’t done and showing considerable degrees of resilience, they launched an escape bid which set up a nail-biting finale. Holding Raiders to just one basket in five minutes, the Eagles rattled off 13 points in reply to take a shock lead.

Damon Huffman then effectively nailed the dagger shot with a huge triple inside the last minute, before the Eagles wrapped up the game, if only just, from the free-throw line.

Huffman and Maddox (pictured) had 43 points for the winning team, the latter completing a double-double after pulling down 11 rebounds whilst Matt Schneck was the stand-out performer in defeat with an efficient and impressive 27 points and 10 rebounds.