Newcastle Eagles 103 (Smith 37, Defoe 25, Cooke 18)
Cheshire Phoenix 100 (Middleton 39, Coleman 26, Moses 23)
Reggie Middleton won the scoring battle but Charles Smith and Newcastle Eagles won the match with a thrilling victory over Cheshire Phoenix.
Smith (pictured) scored 37 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out six assists in a brilliant individual performance to keep Eagles in touch with the top of the BBL Championship.
Middleton had a game high 39 points but couldn’t quite help the visitors to a road win as Phoenix lost for the first time in seven matches.
It was always destined to be a tight start at Sport Central and that was how it turned out as Newcastle and Cheshire traded baskets for the opening 10 minutes. The largest lead for either team was 15-11 for Newcastle on a Paul Gause free throw and then again at the end of the period when Stuart Thompson’s two made it 28-24 to the Eagles.
A Victor Moses two tied the match at 29-29 but after that the second quarter belonged to Newcastle as Fab Flournoy’s team gradually built a 52-39 lead. Phoenix responded and a Reggie Middleton three with five seconds of the half to play brought the deficit back into single figures at 56-49.
Eagles moved their lead out to 66-51 but Cheshire, through a combination of Middleton, Moses, Dominique Coleman and a Devan Bailey three pulled back to just 72-70 down at the end of the third quarter.
Cheshire edged in front 77-74 on a Middleton two but it was the last time the visitors would lead.
Smith scored his team’s final 11 points to seal the victory and ensure the Eagles bounced straight back from last weekend’s BBL Cup final heartbreak.