Newcastle Eagles head to Cheshire Phoenix this afternoon in great heart and full of confidence, writes Jeff King. They travel with a 3 – 1 record atop of BBL Cup North Group after a superb 94 – 86 win on the road at Leicester Riders led by Rahmon Fletcher’s 28-point haul.
However, it was the appearance of Fletcher’s backcourt partner Rodney Glasgow Junior that heartened all at The Eagles as the explosive guard finally got his clearance to make his Newcastle debut.
Glasgow played just over thirty minutes, starting the game and finishing with 12 points and 8 assists to really boost his side’s roster and help offset the loss of Mike Morsell through injury. Clearly the combo guard enjoyed his first competitive outing.
“It was great to be finally back on court after pre-season, get to play with the guys and help contribute to a great win. We just followed Coach’s game-plan and we knew going in there that Leicester would try and play off their energy.”
“So, we had to match them or even take it up another level which I thought we did especially coming off the first quarter. It set the tone for the whole game which we did that good and we executed down the stretch as well.”
One of the biggest factors in the Eagles win was their supremacy in the rebound battle where they outrebounded the home side 51 – 34 including a massive 21 offensive boards. Glasgow felt that was one of the keys.
“Usually when we control the boards, we win the game. So, in practice we’ve been working on everyone including the guards rebounding the ball. It helps us get into our offence quicker and the ball will be in our hands. As long as we keep doing that, we should be fine.”
Glasgow had been excellent in the Eagles preseason warm-up games and looked as if he could be a major contributor so it’s been frustrating for him to sit out the first three games. But when he got the call to start, he was ready and showed what quality he can bring to the Eagles cause.
“I was prepared for that. I think Mac (Coach Ian MacLeod) was going to play me thirty no matter what. I’ve been practising hard, staying ready and being professional. I knew once the whole passport issue was cleared up, I’d be back on court, I just didn’t know it was going to be against Leicester!”
To step in against the side that has dominated British basketball in the last three seasons and contribute so well to a great Newcastle win shows the calibre of player that Glasgow is.
“I knew how big the game was and what it meant. I knew the history and the rivalry. I’m just glad I came in and did what I could and help my guys win in any way we can. I’m never pleased with my performance as I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”
“A lot of people thought I played good but I know I can play better. I’ve just got keep working on it and concentrate on getting my game legs back but I think I’ll be fine for the game on Sunday at Cheshire especially when I get some continuity and chemistry going.”
The Eagles, as Glasgow said, face Cheshire Phoenix on the road later this afternoon. This is the away fixture following the opening night of the season clash between the two sides at the Eagles Community Arena where Newcastle demolished Cheshire 97 – 68.
“You always have to respect each team you play no matter what the outcome of how you played them before. You have to go in there with the same mentality because any team can beat anyone on any given night.”
“That’s what we have to do, go in with the same mindset, not take them for granted, take care of business and hopefully that should mean we can take the win home.”
The game is free to watch on the BBL YouTube channel.