Marc Stuetel touch down in Latvia today still smarting from the defensive lapses that allowed Leicester Riders to wrap up a 111-88 weekend win.
Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles return to European North Basketball League action tomorrow with Valmiera Glass VIA next up for the men in black.
But the wildly inconsistent Tynesiders will have to be smarter at the defensive end on foreign soil after allowing Leicester to open up a 2-1 series lead in the British Basketball League.
“Riders were able to find rhythm from the three-point line early on and maintain that rhythm as the game progressed,” lamented a frustrated Steutel.
“Leicester used their depth well and ultimately we couldn’t get the defensive stops we needed when we needed them most.”
A thrilling first half saw two fierce rivals shoot the lights out at the Morningside Arena with Rickey McGill and Jordan Johnson pacing the visitors.
And as the two sides headed to the locker rooms at the half it was impossible to predict which team was going to come out on top.
That the Riders ultimately eased to victory was due, in part, to too many easy looks from beyond the arc.
And conceding three figures in any game goes against everything Newcastle’s playcaller stands for.
Steutel’s Eagles blueprint relies on defensive steel — an aspect of his team’s performance sorely missing in the East Midlands.
And he added: “Consistency breeds confidence. It’s something I am purposeful with each and every day with the group.
“We need to continue to build defensively. I felt we were really positioned to do this after last Tuesday’s defensive performance against Brno. It was disappointing we didn’t build on that down at Leicester.”
Rob Paternostro’s men overhauled a 10-point deficit to seize control in the third quarter — after closing the half with a 14-4 run.
Influential guard Kimbal Mackenzie tightened his grip on a fast-paced affair after the break with a mix of key scores and pivotal assists.
And Newcastle struggled to contain the all-action Jaren Holmes as the Riders star packed the stat sheet with 28 points, five boards and four assists.
The Eagles had led 27-17 after a McGill triple opened up a deserved double-digit advantage.
Johnson joined the party to keep the scoreboard ticking over and the visitors still led by eight points with five minutes of the first half to play.
But Leicester closed the second quarter on top to lead 53-50 after the first 20 minutes — extending that advantage to 10 points within minutes of the restart.
Newcastle were again without the sidelined Larry Austin Jr and Steutel resisted the urge to use Scott Spencer off the bench.
Both players travelled to Latvia and the latter could continue his comeback from injury with restricted minutes against Valmiera.
Fans can watch the ENBL action tomorrow at newcastle-eagles.com/live with photos and updates also on our social media channels.