Guildford Heat 86 Newcastle Eagles 79

NEWCASTLE Eagles’ fabulous 12-game winning streak in the league came to an end in Guildford yesterday. Current champions Heat kept their hopes of retaining their title alive with a pulsating win in a game they couldn’t afford to lose, writes JEFF KING.

It’s now three games and three losses to Guildford for Newcastle this season and that’s what will hurt Fabulous Flournoy. Too many turnovers cost the Eagles badly as once again they came up short in the big match-up.

It was Lynard Stewart who opened the scoring before Guildford hit back with a 7-0 run to take the advantage. And with the Heat’s Danny Gilbert in fine form the home side were suddenly 14 points up at 22-8. A late Eagles burst got them back to within 10 at 26-16.

The second quarter opened with the teams trading baskets until Newcastle began to mount a comeback. A 6-2 run got them going and then a further 9-0 effort saw them level the game at 40-40. However the Heat had the final say of the half scoring the last four points.

Newcastle came out quickly and levelled the game. Then an Olu Babalola three-point basket gave them their first lead since the opening minutes. The two heavyweights of the BBL then slugged it out with Guildford edging out in front – a 10-2 burst giving them a 72-64 advantage. Both teams were hungry for the win and it showed as every shot was contested and every ball scrapped for.

The Eagles were playing catch up and the Heat were trying to keep them at bay. Gradually they cut the gap and a 6-2 made it 81-78. Then crucially Flournoy fouled out, and without his leadership Guildford were able to close out the game.

However the destiny of the BBL Championship is still in the hands of the Eagles and Flournoy will have to regroup his men and make sure they pick up the wins they need to bring the BBL crown back to Tyneside.

GUILDFORD HEAT: Mike Martin 21, E J Harrison 21, Daniel Gilbert 19 and Tony Dorsey 19.
NEWCASTLE EAGLES: Lynard Stewart 21, Andrew Bridge12, Steve Leven 12 and Fab Flournoy 12.