Esh Group Eagles Newcastle are back to winning ways as they took a crucial away win at Worcester tonight. It was always going to be an intriguing game with ex-Eagles coach Tony Garbelotto turning up to coach a Worcester side rock-bottom of The BBL in place of the recuperating Ty Shaw.
It proved to be exactly that as Newcastle sprang a double surprise in the starting five with Victor Moses returning early from injury and Eddie Matthew promoted from the bench. Both of them played significant parts in the win with Moses having a huge double-double adding 13 rebounds to his top-scoring effort.
Rahmon Fletcher was also back to his on-court general best as the league’s leading supplier of assists dished out an incredible 15 to go along with his 20-point haul showing how much he benefits from having Moses back in the side.
The Eagles certainly opened in style in the first quarter as their defence looked really solid and they used that as a springboard to open up the Wolves defence with great ball movement and execution. After Rob Crawford opened the game’s scoring for the home side, Newcastle hit back immediately.
Two 8 – 0 runs with Moses very much to the fore inside for the visitors and Fletcher and Matthew hitting triples had Worcester taking an early time-out as they were down 16 – 5. Matthew hit another triple on the resumption but Wolves closed the gap to six.
Eagles though finished the quarter strong with seven unanswered including a Jamal Williams triple and led 28 – 15 going in to the second. As that quarter opened Jamal hit another long-range bomb and Newcastle had a 14-point lead.
This finally seemed to wake the Wolves in their den and they produced a 10 – 2 run to come right back at their opponents. One again though Eagles replied and two more triples for Jamal and one for Fletcher had interim coach Garbelotto calling a time-out as Newcastle led 46 – 34.
Whatever Garbelotto said in that tactical minute certainly worked as his side responded to his call and came out blazing from the time-out scoring the final ten points of the half to close to within two at 44 – 46 as the sides went to the locker rooms with a big second half in prospect.
Into the second half and Worcester continued that run with the opening four points to actually take their first lead since the first basket of the game at 48 – 46. From there it was nip and tuck as the sides traded baskets until a 10 – 4 Eagles run capped by a Kyle Williams triple pushed Eagles 62 – 58 in front.
Kyle made it back to back triples and a strong Newcastle finish to the period eased them further ahead as they ended the quarter with a 71 – 63 lead and ten minutes in which to see out the game.
With Kyle and Fletcher hitting further long-range bombs and the mercurial point guard controlling things as well, Head Coach Fab Flournoy’s men stretched their lead back in to double figures forcing yet another Worcester time-out.
Coming back on court though it was now the flying Eagles that had the bit between their teeth and with Moses continuing his domination inside and Fletcher directing traffic they took their biggest lead of the night at 88 – 70 and from their used the time wisely to see out the rest of the game.
Jamal continued his fine form on the night and Fletcher himself took his side past the 100-point barrier and confirmed an excellent night’s work personally and for his team as they took a well-deserved road win to get themselves back on track.