One of the few positives in last Friday night’s defeat at Glasgow for Esh Group Eagles Newcastle was the return to the starting five of Zarko Jukic, writes Jeff King.
The Danish International showed his athletic prowess at both ends of the court as he contributed a fine double-double of 15 pts and 10 rebounds albeit in a losing cause.
Jukic who has impressed as an Eagle in his first BBL season would much rather have had the W in Newcastle’s column in exchange for every contribution he made whilst on court and felt he could have done better.
He looked back on that loss as well as previewing tonight’s crucial BBL Trophy 1st Round clash at Northumbria University Sport Central which tips off at 7:30pm.
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“Obviously it was a tough loss at Glasgow, but you have to give them props, I thought they played well. We didn’t stick too much to our game plan. We allowed them too many easy baskets and we allowed them to play their way and I thought we could have done more especially defensively.”
“For me I played all right but at the end of the day it’s all about the win so. I could have done more in some situations. I missed a couple of easy lay-ups, but we lost so it doesn’t really matter to me how I played.”
After two losses now on the bounce, Newcastle need to come back strong in tonight’s one-off encounter or the chance for another piece of silverware will slip through their grasp.
“We have been very intense and very focused this week for sure. Whenever you come off a loss you have a little extra motivation and we’ve done well in practise this week. We’re all just looking forward to the game tonight. We’ve got to get this win back.”
“I think we know that Surrey are a bit better as a team since last month when we beat them in the league at home. But, we know we can beat them. We’ve just got to go out there and follow our game-plan and play as well as we can and we should get that win, I think.”
“Our fans are great and it’s always great to play in front of these fans”
One thing Jukic is certainly looking forward too is getting back home and playing at Sport Central. In his case he’s done some miles, jetting out to Armenia to play for Denmark and then flying back in before making that ill-fated trip to Glasgow. He feels it’ll be nice to be home.
“Our fans are great and it’s always great to play in front of these fans and we have to get that win. I think everyone is focused and everyone is ready for this game that’s for sure.”
It’s been a long week for Jukic and his team-mates since they took that loss in Glasgow but there seems a certain determination, togetherness and readiness to get themselves back on track and start another winning run by taking their place in the next round of The BBL Trophy.
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