It was a spectacular return for flying Eagles forward Justin Gordon on Friday night at the Vertu Motors Arena.
His return to Newcastle colours after a successful campaign with the Tyneside franchise last campaign sparked a terrific winning performance from his teammates.
True Surrey arrived in Newcastle bottom of The BBL and minus four senior players but they still had their top scorers Stanley Davis Jnr and Lamar Hamrick in their side as well as veteran BBL star Tayo Ogedengbe.
But they were no match for The Eagles on the night. Newcastle had six players in double figures including a game-high for Wes Person Jr with 23 points, Rahmon Fletcher with 17 and 9 assists and an excellent double-double from Kyle Williams with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The scores had been level at 11 – 11 in the first period before Eagles finished the quarter with a 16 – 4 run that had them twelve points ahead. They went on to also win the remaining three quarters to pull away and record an impressive 42-point victory by the final buzzer.
Coach Ian MacLeod was naturally pleased with his side’s win but more importantly with Glasgow Rocks awaiting his charges in Scotland this afternoon the performance was even more high on his satisfaction radar.
“It was a good win and we did a lot of good things in that performance as well. We had thirty-three assists which means it has to be good team basketball. Wins in isolation don’t get you momentum. Good wins and good performances do.”
“The guys are in a good place after that win but it’s not too high and not too low. We’ve done 50% of our job this weekend and need to go to Glasgow and get a good result. You can’t carry over the fact that we won but you can carry over and the performance indicators and that’s what we have to do.”
Kyle Williams meanwhile was a happy man both with the team’s and his own performance and praised his teammates, expressing his thoughts to have more players back and in the rotation than has been possible recently.
“It was a great performance and felt like a really good win and will give us some momentum going into Sunday’s game at Glasgow. We need to carry the same intensity, same energy and just execute in the same way.”
“We’ve been short-handed like they were tonight but we played hard the whole game and that was big for us. It was the first time in a while we’ve had almost out whole squad available and you saw the difference it made.”
Williams own performance was a highlight and he admitted he couldn’t remember if he had ever had a professional double-double but modestly paid tribute to the whole team and not his own individual effort.
“I think we just played well, played off our instincts and I just happened to get some rebounds and score some points and got some rhythm to help the team.”
One of the highlight plays of the game was in the first period when Williams intercepted a pass in his own half and then threw a ‘no-look’ one-handed behind his back pass to Brandon Peel who scored easily. It had the Eagles fans off their seats.
“I took a little risk, tried it and it worked out. I looked at him and thought I’ll just go for it and luckily it paid off. Things like that help you get momentum and brings the crowd into the game which gives us an edge we can feed off.”
“We got our defence right tonight. We’d worked on it all week and that was the key to our success. We need more of the same on Sunday against Glasgow so that has to be the goal to help us get another win.”