Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Plymouth University Raiders

Friday 24 January 2014
Sport Central (19:30)

Fab Flournoy
Fab Flournoy could barely have asked for any more in response to his teams’ bitterly disappointing finish to the BBL Cup Final.

His players could easily have flopped again in their first game after the Final, when they were pushed right to the wire by the buoyant Cheshire Phoenix.

They could also have slipped on the potential banana skin of their BBL Trophy clash at Essex Leopards, but the Eagles came out with credit on both scores.

“Yes, it was a good weekend for us,” reflected Flournoy (pictured).

“I was really happy with our resilience against Cheshire.

“It is always tough making in-game adjustments when you lose one player to injury, but to do it when you lose two players in the course of a game was very encouraging.

“Reggie Middleton was outstanding for Phoenix, but we got a fantastic performance from Charles Smith who really put us on his shoulders and carried us to the win with his 24 points in the fourth quarter.”

“At Leopards, we were very professional and efficient in the way that we played and basically accomplished our goal of not letting them settle into the game,” added the player-coach.

“Once again, Charles led the way but Drew Lasker, Darius Defoe and Malik Cooke also really stepped up their game.”

The weekend was made even sweeter for the silverware-chasing Eagles when their BBL Cup final conquerors and arch rivals Leicester Riders fell to a loss in the BBL Championship and then had their BBL Trophy dreams dashed.

Now the Eagles face a Plymouth University Raiders side who continue to search for the right blend after making further roster changes.

Last time they met:

Plymouth University Raiders 89 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 87 (BBL Championship, Plymouth Pavilions, 06/10/2013)

What they say:

Plymouth forward Ben Eaves: “I think we did a pretty good job of sticking together last weekend after some changes. There were always going to be re-adjustments and things weren’t going to be perfect, but the effort and energy was there and we played pretty well defensively.

“It should be fun up at Newcastle since they are a very good team. We need to be mindful of the little things, the details. This week in practice will be as much about us than anything else, as we continue building a connection between the guys.”

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