It was a perfect weekend for BBL Championship leaders Newcastle Eagles as they continued their push for a fifth regular season title.
Fabulous Flournoy’s team won 103-94 at title rivals UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders on Friday before chalking up a 95-82 success at Cheshire Jets on Sunday, but it wasn’t just their victories which helped the Eagles stake a claim for the title as Raiders also lost at Guildford Heat on Sunday and Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders went down against Guildford Heat on Saturday.
Understandably, Flournoy was a happy man: “We are obviously delighted with two wins. Plymouth was a play-off level game with two teams basically going at each other the whole game. We kept our poise down the stretch and really closed the game out well in overtime.
“Against Cheshire we started out red hot from outside and played excellent defence for three quarters to really put the game away. Thommo [Andrew Thomson] showed why he really should be inline for an invite to the GB camp this summer by knocking down his first seven threes and we all fed off that.”
Jeremy Bell led all scorers with 26 points for the Raiders, while Darius Defoe finished with 25 for the visitors. Thomson led the way with 21 points for Eagles at Cheshire on Sunday in a game they were 34 up in at the end of the third quarter.
Raiders’ miserable weekend was completed in Guildford on Sunday as Martelle McLemore poured in 30 points to lead the Heat to a 95-85 victory. A 21-4 second half run proved to be key for the Heat as they improved their chances of a play-off spot.
Riders also saw their title hopes take a knock as they suffered their second home defeat in a month against Glasgow Rocks as Mychal Green hit 21 points in an 89-79 victory. That victory was the first half of a weekend double for Sterling Davis’ team as they moved on to Prestige Home MK Lions on Sunday evening, with Green and EJ Harrison each hitting 25 points in a 101-89 victory.
It wasn’t all bad news for the team chasing the Eagles as Worcester Wolves travelled to Durham on Friday night, and completed a season sweep against the Wildcats with a 90-70 victory. Tommy Freeman led the Wolves with 29 points as Paul James’ team took control with a strong second half.
There was also a much-needed victory on Friday evening for One Health Sharks Sheffield as 34 Jimmy Langhurst points helped them to a 110-87 win against the Lions. Zach Gachette and Mike Tuck added 24 points apiece for the Sharks as they cemented their third spot in the table.
Finally, Mersey Tigers won the battle at the bottom of the table with a strong finish at Durham Wildcats to run out 79-68 victors. The visitors had trailed by one heading into the final quarter but having taken the lead at 64-62 with five minutes to play they went on an 11-0 burst to take the game away from their hosts. Young British forward Myles Hesson led the Tigers with 20 points.