There was considerable fourth quarter excitement on Friday night as the Newcastle Eagles secured a BBL Cup semi-final first leg victory.
Starting in the North East, the Eagles produced a fourth quarter rally to beat the Mersey Tigers and take a 97-90 edge into the second leg of the Cup semi-final. The hosts trailed for most of the first three-quarters, and were fifteen down in the third after Nate Reinking’s three-pointer made it 58-73 to the Tigers.
But Andrew Bridge hit a three-pointer with the last play of the third to keep the Eagles within striking distance. They turned the game on its head through resolute defence and a fourth quarter surge that put them in the ascendancy in this two-legged tie. The Eagles started with a 14-1 burst, led by Moore and Darius Defoe, as they restricted their visitors to just one point in five and a half minutes, to lead 84-80. A Charles Smith three-pointer and 4/4 free-throws from Moore in the final two minutes ensured that the Eagles take a seven-point lead into the second leg.
Trey Moore led the Eagles with 34 points, 6 assists and 4 steals, supported by 25 points from Joe Chapman. Drew Sullivan, for the Tigers, led all scorers with a massive double-double of 35 points and 12 rebounds.