Newcastle Eagles 96 (Smith 21, Defoe 18, Chapman 18)
Manchester Giants 76 (Gill 23, Eaves 13, Aliu 11)
Reigning champions Newcastle Eagles showed their class to ease past Manchester Giants in the north-east.
The experienced trio of Charles Smith, Darius Defoe and Joe Chapman led the scoring for the home team as they cruised to a 96-76 victory.
Newcastle wasted no time in asserting themselves in the first quarter as some excellent offensive play saw them lead 23-7.
Giants worked hard to limit their losses and by the end of the period had trimmed the gap slightly to 25-12.
The visitors reduced the deficit to 29-20 midway through the second quarter before Eagles gradually moved away to a half time advantage of 46-32.
Defoe and Kareem Maddox both had 13 points for the hosts at the interval.
Eagles effectively put the game to bed in the third quarter as they stretched out to a 20 point lead (62-42) on Smith’s bucket.
Smith’s two at 76-50 was their high point before a two free throws from Ben Eaves and one from Nathan Schall made it 76-53 heading into the final stanza.
There was no way back for the Giants but they did end the match the stronger with an 11-0 burst after Eagles had posted a game high mark of 96-65.