Newcastle Eagles go into tonight’s crucial BBL Championship clash against Surrey Scorchers desperate to pick up their first win of the New Year.
They could have been going into the game looking for a fourth successive win had they managed to defeat Manchester Giants on New Years Day in Lancashire.
But, once again, despite a valiant effort, they came up just short losing out 99 – 97 to the Giants. The loss was hard to take after they’d led during the game by as many as 14-points but a loss it was and it makes tonight’s game even more vital.
The game see’s Head Coach Marc Steutel’s men come up against a side they beat just before Christmas down in Surrey by 88 – 86 and a repeat of that is the very least Newcastle need as they face the only team below them in the BBL table.
Steutel previewed tonight’s massive game by first of all looking back at that Manchester game which could have easily gone their way.
“Everyone in the group was disappointed with losing that close one with Manchester on the road. We felt we prepared the right way but essentially lacked some discipline in execution at key parts of the game probably on both sides of the ball.”
“Ultimately that’s what it came down to. In those last few minutes we gave ourselves an opportunity to win but unfortunately we couldn’t get it done.”
As Steutel says it was a disappointment and a huge opportunity missed after winning their two previous games. Had they managed to take that win in Manchester they would have had great momentum as they try to get find their way into the play-off positions.
It all means that a win tonight against Surrey is crucial. On the same day that Newcastle were losing in Manchester, the Scorchers picked up only their second win of the season downing the high-flying Bristol Flyers at home.
They may be bottom of the league but Steutel knows they are dangerous opposition and a side that is showing real signs of improvement as they come into the Vertu Motors Arena where back in November they took their first win of the season.
“I’ve said it before that Surrey despite their record have been playing some positive basketball and they’re probably sitting their rueing the opportunities they’ve had at times to get over the line.”
“They, like us, probably feel they should have more wins on the board. They let one slip against Leicester over the festive period. We know that they’re talented with a good blend of British and import talent that know the league.”
“Andrew Lawrence their GB International guard is getting better the more that he’s playing and each game he’s playing and he pulls the strings for them. So we know that it’s going to be an extremely challenging game.”
“They’ve got a talented backcourt across Lawrence, Quincy Taylor and Padiet Wang and we know that we have to try and slow them down and limit them. Equally they have different options in their frontcourt who can all step up on any given night.”
“They are well coached by Lloyd Gardner and they’re playing good basketball regardless of their record and it’s going to be a tough challenge. We have to make sure our defence is solid and consistent for forty minutes.”
“We have to execute our game plan the way that we want. We have to look after the basketball offensively and try to get the shots we want to get and hopefully keep them out of transition in the open floor.”
The game as usual on a Friday night in Newcastle tips off at the Vertu Motors Arena at 7:30pm and come the final buzzer the Eagles and Steutel hope to be celebrating what would be an important and meaningful win.
Limited tickets remain for the game and can be purchased on the box office.