BBL Championship
Surrey United 76 (24,37,56) (Knutson 22, Dusha 16, Downing 13)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 97 (19,42,74) (Martin 24, Thomson 19, Fletcher 18)

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle have moved six points clear at the top of the BBL Championship after a 76-97 road win at Surrey United on Saturday night. It was their nineteenth consecutive win in all competitions, and their fifth straight against United over the last eighteen months.

It was also the twelfth time that the league’s leading scorers – they average 10 points more per game than any other side – have scored more than ninety points in a game this season. On this occasion they were led by Scott Martin, for the third time this campaign, with his highest tally of 28 points; while Rahmon Fletcher added 14 points and nine assists. Both teams shot the ball well on the night, with the Eagles shooting 50% from the field, and 47% from three-point range, with Andy Thomson hitting three of his four triples on his way to 19 points.

United have now lost five in a row, but the start of the game didn’t go to form as the hosts posted a first quarter 13-2 burst to lead 24-13 as Anthony Downing and Kramer Knutson scored four each. Fletcher and Martin cut the lead immediately for the visitors, but they still trailed 31-25 midway through the second stanza.

From there the Eagles took charge: Thomson hit back-to-back three-pointers, before Martin did the same, in a lightning 12-0 burst over a two minute spell that turned that deficit into a 31-37 lead.

The hosts stayed in the game until midway through the third quarter, when five more points from Fletcher inspired a 15-5 spell and a 53-65 lead for Newcastle. And the third quarter proved decisive as they put 31 points on the board, and ended it with a 13-3 push to lead 56-73 going into the final ten minutes.

There was to be no way back for United, as the lead peaked at 65-94 on Fab Flournoy’s basket, after Stuart Thomson had come from the bench to score the last five in another 14 unanswered points early in the fourth.