It was another fabulous Friday night at The Eagles Community Arena in front of another sell-out crowd who raised the roof as Esh Group Eagles Newcastle took a vital BBL Championship win over arch-rivals Glasgow Rocks 104 – 98 after a thrilling overtime match-up.
The Eagles were without top scorer Victor Moses through injury but had enough personnel to see them over the line. All five starting players netted double figure contributions with Jeremy Smith’s 17 points, Rahmon Fletcher’s 24 and Darius Defoe’s 26 leading the way.
Fletcher’s contribution was all the more remarkable as he picked up his fourth foul with 5:32 still to play in the third quarter but got through the rest of the game to lead his side to a victory which he admitted was huge after the game.
“It was a big game, a really big game. Glasgow is a good team that were in great form coming in. I think the biggest thing for us was we got five stops in a row in over-time. We said at half-time that we needed to shrink the floor and not over help as that killed us in the first-half and I think defence really won us that game.”
“Sometimes I have to act like I’m playing defence so that’s why I got four fouls like that so I went back to my normal defence and it worked. I think a couple of my calls were questionable but I didn’t let it phase me and in fact it seemed to work in my favour.”
The mercurial point guard though was quick to praise his team-mates and in particular Darius Defoe who added 12 rebounds to his 26 points and played every single second of the 45 minutes really leading by example.
“D was awesome and that’s what captains do. He’s a long, long time player in The BBL and he has games like that. He’s been playing like that all year for us and when he plays like that especially with Vic out that’s huge for us.”
The Eagles have now won three in a row in the league and just seem to have a little bit of momentum going at the moment as they go in to this afternoon’s game at Manchester against a Giants team, they’ve seen a lot of recently. Newcastle are likely to be without Moses again for this one.
“Manchester is a very aggressive team and of course we’ve got to deal with Willie Clayton again who is so crucial to them. We’ve seen them, they’ve seen us so we know each other well right now. They’ve had a lot of games and so have we so it could all come down to who has the most energy on the day.”
It is another crucial game and even more so as afterwards the Eagles have an enforced break for almost two weeks before they’re back at The ECA to face Bristol Flyers on Friday 1st March. It would be a real confidence booster to go in to that break on the back of a four-game winning streak.
“We want to get this win on Sunday going in to a long break and end a run on a high. If not, it’s not going to be the end of the world but we’ve had a great run start this month and we really want to keep that going on Sunday and get that win to keep it rolling.”
Fans can watch the game live on the 75-inch screens in our hospitality suite and bar from 5pm with a ticket to this afternoon’s WBBL game which tips-off at 3pm. It’s a huge day of basketball all live to see at our Eagles Community Arena. Tickets are just £5 per person or £2.50 for our BBL Season Ticket Holders and can be purchased online or the door.