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Jordan Johnson’s determination down the stretch handed Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles an invaluable European lifeline.

The relentless US guard — who shared the MVP honours with Skyler Bowlin — scored the hosts’ last nine points of the game as he kept driving to the line at the death.

Jordan Johnson scored 19 points to keep our Eagles European dream alive. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And Johnson’s Herculean effort means it’s all to play for in Aarhus later this month with Bakken Bears defending a slender five-point lead at the halfway point in this fascinating two-legged tie.

European North Basketball League (ENBL) action returned to Tyneside just 48 hours after hometown favourite Rickey McGill was confirmed as the competition’s regular season MVP.

And the in-form guard was a marked man early on as the visitors swarmed all over an initially nervy Newcastle.

Head coach Marc Steutel — fresh from his latest stint as Great Britain boss — was forced to call a timeout after just five minutes as the Bears roared into a 12-6 lead.

The fourth home tip-off of European action for our Eagles saw another exciting encounter for a loud-and-proud Vertu Motors Arena faithful. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And it was enough to get the Eagles back on track with back-to-back buckets from Josh Ward-Hibbert and Scott Spencer reducing the deficit.

Bakken took a deserved two-point lead into period two and when Tajh Green levelled the scores at 33-33 this looked like an increasingly tough game to call.

But with deadeye Bowlin — who faced Newcastle during pre-season in a Sodertalje Kings jersey back in 2015 — finding his range, the tide slowly turned in the Danes’ favour.

And Bakken made the most of some inviting looks in transition to take a 50-45 lead into the locker room at the half.

Captain Darius Defoe at the pre-game shirt swap. (Photos: Gary Forster)

Newcastle were struggling to make an impact from beyond the arc — the Eagles went on to shoot just 23 percent from three-point range — and appeared to have met their match in a pacey Bears outfit keen to run the ball.

But the resilience and focus which had underpinned a run of 10 wins in the club’s last 14 games saw the hosts hit back to claim a thrilling third quarter 21-18.

Green scored 13 of his 18 points in what could prove to be a decisive period when this quarter-final match-up is all said and done.

And Steutel must have reinforced the need to keep calm heading into the final 10 minutes as Newcastle sought to take a lead to Scandinavia.

Anders Sommer’s side had other ideas and it was the Bears who threatened to break the tie wide open on the back of a sustained mid-quarter surge.

Bakken led 85-74 with just 133 seconds on the clock: Steutel stepped in to stop the rot and Johnson took over after the timeout.

Back-to-back McGill baskets — the ENBL MVP hit four unanswered points in just 27 seconds — laid the foundation for his backcourt buddy.

ENBL MVP Rickey McGill put in another great performance scoring 17 points with 6 assists. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And Johnson somehow found a way through a sea of Bakken bodies to finish the game with 19 points and 10 from the bonus stripe.

But it was Ward-Hibbert, capped by Great Britain last month, who was many fans’ pick as standout Eagle.

Eagle Jordan Johnson and Bear Skyler Bowlin were awarded game MVP prizes from Newcastle MD Paul Blake and ENBL Secretary General Edgars Zanders. (Photos: Gary Forster)

The former London Lion came off the bench to finish with a gutsy double double of 12 points and 12 rebounds and give Bakken plenty of food for thought ahead of a mouthwatering March 13 rematch.

When Newcastle tip-off in Aarhus, fans back home will be able to watch live on the Eagles website with full game commentary of the action and all the build-up from 5:15pm.