BBL Championship (OT)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 83 (21, 39, 60, 72)(Martin 18, Chapman 16, Fletcher 15)
London Lions 81 (16, 42, 57, 72)(J Williams 21, Lewis 16, Watt 15)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle recovered from the disappointment of BBL Trophy Final defeat to emerge as 83-81 victors against London Lions after overtime in the BBL Championship on Friday.
The reigning champions were uncharacteristically outworked on the boards and as a result gave up 22 second-chance points, making it a tough night.
Nigel Lloyd’s Lions led by five points with three minutes remaining in overtime before Eagles’ seasoned campaigners took over.
Charles Smith, Scott Martin and Darius Defoe, marshalled by the excellent Rahmon Fletcher, executed a series of solid offences down the stretch to overturn the deficit.
Fletcher then picked out Martin with his 10th and final assist to knock-down the game-winning three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining.
It is a heart-breaking defeat for Lions, who have now lost eight times in a row against Newcastle, and slip to a 11-11 record, leaving the door open for BBL Play-Off rivals Cheshire Phoenix to take advantage.
Lions were paced by 21 points from the hot hand of Jamal Williams while Demond Watt added 15 points and 13 boards.
Eagles underlined their resilience once again, maintaining control of the title race and improving to a 21-2 mark.
Martin top-scored with 18 points while Joe Chapman chipped in 16 and Fletcher scored 15 to go with his first-class play-making.