Newcastle Eagles 85 (23,37,52) (Chapman 23, Smith 20, Thomson 19)
Glasgow Rocks 63 (12,32,44) (Harrison 20, Green 16, Davis/Murray 7)
The Newcastle Eagles got their 2011/12 BBL Trophy campaign off to a winning start with an 85-63 defeat of rivals the Glasgow Rocks. The Eagles – winners of the competition in 2010 – are looking to win the Trophy for a record fifth time, having relinquished it last year.
Joe Chapman led the Eagles with 23 points, with Charles Smith on 20 and new signing Andrew Thomson scoring 19. EJ Harrison led the visitors with 19 points.
The hosts led from start to finish as they held an early 7-2 lead behind 5 points from Joe Chapman, a welcome return to the team for the guard who suffered an injury at the end of last season. The Rocks narrowed it to 9-8 with a score from Cranston and the teams were still close at 14-12 with 4.30 to play in the quarter, before two and a half scoreless minutes followed. Bridge and Smith – the latter with a three-pointer – broke that spell and sparked a 9-0 burst to the end of the quarter that included two more for Smith for a score of 23-12 at the break.
Having been scoreless for over 4 minutes, the Rocks scored the first six points of the second period, before a triple from Bridge got the Eagles going again, the score at 26-20. Midway through the quarter the Rocks had it back to a one possession game, at 28-25, after consecutive baskets from EJ Harrison. It stayed a one possession game until Smith’s triple concluded the scoring in the first half, with the Eagles holding a 37-32 advantage heading into the locker rooms.
A good start to the third quarter saw the Rocks back on level terms for the first time since the first minute, as Murray’s three-pointer made the score 41-41. But from there the Eagles cranked up the defence and didn’t allow their hosts to score for five minutes, while scoring 9 points of their own including another triple for Chapman. The Eagles led 52-44 going into the decisive stanza as Bridge hit a shot on the buzzer.
Newcastle soon led by double digits as Chapman opened the scoring with two baskets in the fourth: 56-44. Harrison trimmed the deficit with a three-pointer, but it was short-lived as the Eagles ran away with the game inside the final minute with 9 points, including a Thomson triple.