Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles felt the full force of undefeated British Basketball League leaders London Lions as Marc Steutel’s men slipped to a seventh defeat in eight games.
The hosts battled hard to win the second half 51-39 but it was too little too late after the title favourites had stormed into a 60-35 lead at the break.
And Newcastle must now focus on kickstarting the franchise’s European North Basketball League campaign with celebrated Czech side Basket Brno heading to Tyneside on Tuesday.
Homecourt fans poured into the Vertu Motors Arena hoping for a repeat of the previous week’s thrilling victory against fierce rivals Leicester Riders.
And there were many predicting another tough night for London after the Eagles took the Lions to overtime at the Copper Box Arena earlier this month.
But the visitors bounced back from their double overtime EuroCup defeat to Paris behind assured offence and an outstanding display from Gabe Olaseni.
The Great Britain forward, who has flourished under Steutel at international level, fell one assist short of a triple double inside 18 minutes.
And although London dangermen Matt Morgan and Sam Dekker were restricted to a combined 17 points, 10 Lions scorers underpinned a show of total team basketball.
Newcastle flew out of the blocks to open up an 8-4 lead — Will Neighbour justifying his starting five spot with five quickfire points.
Devin Whitfield’s steal and fast break kept the hosts 10-6 up before the Lions finally found their feet and hit their stride.
An 11-4 tear to close the quarter saw Petar Božić’s side take a 30-22 lead into the second period, with nine London scorers packing the stat sheet.
And things only got worse for the men in black as Stuetel’s roster retreated further into its shell.
The visitors picked up where they left off to open up the second quarter with a volley of triples.
And when Olaseni slammed down a one-handed dunk the Eagles were suddenly trailing by 19.
The Lions’ offence was purring but the story of a one-sided first half was as much about Newcastle’s frustrating profligacy as their rivals’ smart finishing.
The hosts shot just 26 per cent from the field during the first 20 minutes with in-form Rickey McGill restricted to just one point and Tajh Green held scoreless.
Only Whitfield and Larry Austin Jr managed double figures for the misfiring Eagles — the latter adding five boards and two assists to his 10 first half points.
Things did improve after the break as McGill finally got going and Green attempted to turn on the style after hitting his first points in the 27th minute.
The Eagles took the third quarter 28-24 and when Josh Ward-Hibbert sank a triple against his former club, London’s lead was cut to 16.
But any hopes of a sustained late rally were extinguished by a London side experienced enough to run down the clock and hit the late baskets that kept Newcastle at arm’s length.
Scott Spencer’s long-awaited debut provided a rare positive and the US wing is expected to step up his match fitness with further minutes against Brno.
With a full roster to pick from heading into a busy November, Steutel must believe his talented team can finally find some consistency and begin to turn the corner.
Tickets for our home debut in European competition on Tuesday can be purchased via the box office.