Newcastle Eagles 121 (Defoe 24, Smith 21, Chapman 16)
Mersey Tigers 58 (Hulsen 17, Lockett 16, Eboigbe 12)
The Newcastle Eagles swept aside the Mersey Tigers – winning 121-58 – to move clear of the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders at the summit of the BBL Championship table. The Eagles had seven players in double-figures, led by a massive double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds from Darius Defoe and supported by 21 points from Charles Smith and 16 for Joe Chapman.
The Eagles scored the first 10 points including consecutive three-pointers from Smith and Chapman, and the result was never in doubt as the lead became 18-2 midway through the period. But the Tigers did recover somewhat as Hulsen hit a three-pointer and they got back to 23-14 with a 9-3 run. Joel Madourie scored the last basket of the period to re-establish Newcastle’s double-digit lead.
It was a slow start to the second stanza as neither side scored for a minute and a half, but the Eagles soon got going. Ikhinmwin stole the ball and dunked before Defoe and Kareem Maddox did damage inside – the latter scored 7 points to help the lead to twenty at 36-16, an 11-2 start. The lead was stretched with a strong finish to the quarter too: from 41-21 the Eagles scored 10 straight points as Damon Huffman scored two three-pointers in thirty seconds, and they led 53-24 at the break.
And the Eagles were unrelenting after the break as they opened with a 15-2 run and pushed the lead through 40 at 68-26 with Chapman, Huffman and Smith all scoring three-pointers. They went on to score a massive 38 points in the third quarter to send the lead through the half century at 91-38. The lead peaked in the fourth quarter at 65 on Defoe’s dunk with 9 seconds remaining, before finishing at 121-58.