Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 123 (29,64,93) (Jones 27, Defoe 19, Martin 18)
Plymouth University Raiders 101 (33,54,72) (Clarke 24, Hampton 21, Benson 20)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle posted the highest points tally in the BBL Championship so far this season in beating Plymouth University Raiders 123-101. It was also the highest overall score of the season so far, with the combined total of 224 being 22 more than any other game so far. It’s the fifth time that the Eagles have been through the century, and they are the league’s highest scorers with a per game average ten points higher than any other side.
And the tone was set early on, although not in Newcastle’s favour. After eight early lead changes, Raiders finished the first quarter with the last ten points, Pierre Hampton hitting six of those, to lead 29-33.
But Raiders have only won three times in Newcastle since 2004, and the league-leading Eagles were immediately on the front foot in the second stanza. Big man Darius Defoe scored six in a 10-3 start that put the hosts back in the ascendancy at 39-36, and there was much more to come when Charles Smith’s three-pointer sparked a 13-0 surge that made the score 64-50, as Raiders didn’t register for three minutes.
Plymouth did get back to within single-figures in the third quarter, on Wilcher’s triple, but it wouldn’t last long as Eagles finished the period with a 15-3 run with Scott Martin scoring nine points, and the game was settled at 93-72 heading into the fourth quarter.
Eagles went through the century on Charles Smith’s three-pointer with 7.38 to play, and six of their players ended up scoring in double-figures led by Andre Jones’s 27, on a night when they shot 61% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc.
Darius Defoe’s 11 rebounds took him to the top of the Eagles all-time rebounding list as he reached 2217 rebounds in 355 BBL Championship games.