BBL Championship
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 98 (23, 47, 76)(Defoe 18, Smith 17, Martin 17)
Glasgow Rocks 71 (15, 34, 59)(Hall 17, Achara 13, Grabau 12)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle capitalised on Leicester Riders’ slip with a 98-71 victory against Glasgow Rocks – on a landmark night for Charles Smith.
Smith became just the third player in history to reach 7,000 career points in the BBL Championship as Eagles beat Rocks for an incredible 16th time in a row.
The triumph took Eagles level on points with league leaders Riders, after they suffered a shock defeat at Leeds Force.
It looked like it could be a long night for Fab Flournoy’s men when the Scottish club came out firing and connected on a flurry of three-pointers early on.
But Joe Chapman replied with a triple of his own midway through the second quarter to spark a 14-1 close to the half and put the hosts in control.
The lead grew as Smith began to find his range and passed his milestone early in the second half.
Despite 15 turnovers, Eagles controlled the majority of the second half and ran out comfortable winners behind their 51% field-goal shooting.
Six Eagles scored in double figures but it was Darius Defoe that led the way with 18 points as Smith added 17 to go with 10 rebounds and five assists.
Will Hall had 17 points and 10 boards in a losing effort for Rocks, who must re-group ahead of a Wednesday meeting with Plymouth Raiders.