Date Time League Season
November 25, 2023 5:00 pm Men's Championship 2023-24

Marc Steutel has challenged his red hot roster to make November a month to remember by acing a seventh victory on the bounce in Surrey tonight.

In-form Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles complete a punishing schedule of eight games in just 21 days with a trip to the resurgent Scorchers.

But after Thursday’s thrilling road win at league leaders London Lions, few would bet against the men in black building on a much-needed mid-season bounce.

“It’s all about doing everything that we can to get the win this weekend,” said head coach Steutel. “Then we can assess the situation.

“The schedule and the places we’ve had to go this month has been a challenge but this is a really tough group of guys.

“And when I talk about a trait like toughness that includes the physical and the mental aspects.

“We’ve had chances to be open and honest when we haven’t been good enough this season and we’ve had opportunities to talk things through when we have been at our best.

“Those conversations have contributed to the confidence and mental toughness within the group.”

Newcastle stunned title favourites London with a ruthless display in the capital to take a fully deserved 102-80 win.

Five players hit double figures with three-peat MVP Jordan Johnson and benchman Josh Ward-Hibbert the pick of an impressive bunch.

Josh Ward-Hibbert was one of five Eagles in double-figures in Thursday night’s win over Lions.

And the hapless Lions had no answer to a team that’s fast gaining a reputation for its brand of total team basketball.

“To finish the London game with 28 assists, just eight turnovers and five guys in double figures was really pleasing,” added Steutel.

“I thought we really played the way we want to play offensively and I think the performance summed up our identity.

“Playing fast, sharing the ball, attacking the paint and shooting rhythm threes is all part of our make-up and that’s always been the plan.”

Newcastle raced into a 32-19 first quarter lead at the Copper Box Arena as the hosts struggled to cope with a second game in as many days.

And if the Lions were lacking a handful of their frontline stars then the Eagles made the most of a golden opportunity to stretch out to a six-game winning streak.

That Newcastle lost eight of their opening 12 games this season puts into sharp focus a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

But Steutel won’t allow complacency to creep in as the men in black meet Surrey for the first time this season.

“People talk a lot about momentum and rhythm in sport and at this moment in time the group is in a really confident place,” he added.

“I think that they’re really finding joy playing with each other. Everyone is confident in their roles and how they can best impact a game.

“But the players say this every day: never get too high and never get too low.

“It’s all about trying to maintain a balance to make sure that we’re ready for the next challenge. And that comes quickly with the road trip to Surrey.”
The Scorchers have hit a purple patch of their own under head coach Lloyd Gardner and new General Manager Dan Clark.

Back-to-back wins against Bristol Flyers earlier this month reignited Surrey’s season and Steutel is expecting a fierce challenge in Guildford.

“With one eye on coach Gardner — somebody I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past and somebody I respect greatly — and Dan I’ve been following what the Scorchers have been doing very closely,” he added.

“They’ve been playing good basketball all season and they’ve got talent and experience right through their roster.

“They’re really disciplined offensively so we have to find a way to make sure our defence impacts on the game and limits their top personnel.

“It’s about us making sure that we’re in the best shape mentally and physically to play the way we want to play. I hope we can grind out a win in what’s a very tough environment.”