Date Time League Season
April 13, 2024 5:00 pm Men's Championship 2023-24

Determined Darius Defoe insists Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles are down but far from out as the Jekyll and Hyde of the British Basketball League look to bounce back at Surrey tonight.

The most decorated player in domestic hoops cut a forlorn figure as he reflected on the disastrous finish that gifted Bristol Flyers victory on Thursday night.

Bristol Flyers came back in the 4th Quarter to snatch a 86-90 victory at the Vertu Motors Arena on Thursday. (Photos: Gary Forster)

But Defoe has seen it all during a 20-year career with the men in black and believes a talented Newcastle team can still find the consistency required to mount a serious post-season push.

Defeat to Bristol followed a fabulous road win at Leicester last month and perplexed fans still can’t predict which Eagles team will show up on any given night.

“It’s frustrating for all of us,” admitted Defoe. “We came into the Bristol game on the back of a great week of practice.

“We felt we were in a position to take the win against Flyers and we built the lead we needed going into the fourth quarter.

“It was a tough night in the end and I can’t really explain why the game got away from us.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted it to end up.

“I know we’re a good team and that’s the most frustrating thing.”

Newcastle head to Surrey Sports Park on the back of six defeats in their last nine games.

But the Eagles have made a habit of bouncing back all season and few would bet against a repeat of the team’s Leicester heroics tonight.

In truth, Marc Steutel’s men should have put the Bristol game to bed following a 14-0 third quarter tear that broke a feisty affair wide open.

Newcastle led 65-53 heading into the final period only for the Flyers to take off.

Bristol bagged 37 points in the final 10 minutes to complete a remarkable 90-86 come-from-behind win in front of a stunned Vertu Motors Arena crowd.

The Eagles missed 12 of their 25 free throws but the story of the game centred on too many defensive lapses down the stretch.

Captain Darius Defoe is looking for a response today to help secure 4th place. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And with the Scorchers clash looming Defoe knows there’s no margin for error three games out from the end of the regular season.

“It’s frustrating that we let another one slip when we should be moving into playoff mode,” he added.

“All we can do is regroup and move onto the next one.

“I keep saying that but I’ve seen how resilient this team can be and I’m confident we’ll come away from Surrey with a victory.

“It’s another must-win game and we’re aware of that. But it’s a big one for the Scorchers too.”

If Newcastle’s target is the top four — and home advantage in the best-of-three playoff quarter-finals — then Surrey are in a scrap with Bristol to avoid finishing eighth.

The Flyers’ win on Tyneside has made that task far tougher but there’s still a chance the Scorchers could sneak seventh and miss London Lions in the post-season.

Defoe is aware of the backstory to another mouthwatering British Basketball League clash but added: “We can only focus on making sure we’re in the right mindset.

“It’s been a long season with lots of twists and turns but we’re still in the mix and that’s all that matters.

“Losses like Bristol are tough but we have to move on. We have to get playoff ready and make some kind of run.”