Newcastle Eagles 99 (18,46,73) (Chapman 21, Defoe 17, Smith/Stewart 14)
Marshall MK Lions 68 (21,40,51) (Youngblood 19, Morris 17, New 9)

Newcastle Eagles overcame a shaky first quarter to strengthen their grip at the top of the BBL with a 99-68 win over sixth placed Marshall MK Lions in the north-east.

Joe Chapman (pictured) continued his excellent form with 21 points to lead all-scorers as Eagles used a 27-11 third quarter to break the match open. Lions had led 18-21 after the first quarter before Eagles began to dominate.

The Lions recovered from a 16-10 deficit late in the first quarter to put together an 11-2 burst as they took the opening 10 minutes 18-21.

It didn’t take long for Newcastle to get back on top. Charles Smith’s three gave them the lead for good at 29-27 and they stretched out to 44-34 on Andrew Bridge’s long range effort before Lions trimmed the gap to 46-40 by half time.

Eagles took control in the third quarter with the lead gradually increasing throughout the stanza. Another Bridge three made it double-digits and Chapman pushed the advantage through the 20 point barrier before Lions’ punishment ended at 75-51.

Newcastle’s lead peaked at 86-55 in the final quarter on Darius Defoe’s free throw. The win gives the Eagles a four point cushion over Sheffield Sharks at the top of the table.