Darius Defoe surpassed 6,500 British Basketball League Championship points on his way to another mighty double-figure haul against his hometown team.
But a typically gutsy display from the most decorated player in domestic hoops history wasn’t enough to down deadeye London Lions.
The league leaders broke the game wide open during a devastating spell of total team basketball after the break.
And a 34-point third quarter tear proved too much for the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles as the visitors sealed a deserved 105-87 win on Tyneside.
London had seven players in double figures as head coach Petar Božić rotated one of the deepest and most talented rosters UK hoops has ever seen.
And despite the homecourt return of ex-Lion Josh Ward-Hibbert and Scott Spencer, Newcastle simply couldn’t match all-action London at their offensive best.
Jordan Johnson’s foul trouble hampered the men in black throughout but the never-say-die North All Star contender still nailed 19 points in just 19 minutes.
The Eagles were neck and neck with big budget rivals at the half with livewire Larry Austin Jr leading the charge.
Lions’ guard Matt Morgan had been restricted to just three points and big man Josh Sharma — like Johnson — was struggling to stay on the right side of the whistle-happy officials.
But when Božić looked down his bench there was never any shortage of firebrand options to shake things up.
And ex-NBA forwards David Nwaba and the ever-willing Donte Grantham did most of the damage on a night when London were forced to dig deep.
With the game tied at 46-46 following a thrilling first half, both coaches must have believed their respective rosters could seize the initiative after the restart.
But it was advantage London as a combination of the visitors’ eye-watering accuracy from beyond the arc and a stalling Eagles’ offence tipped the top four clash in the visitors’ favour.
Matt Morgan suddenly found the way to the hoop from three-point range but it was the Lions’ blistering ball movement that put Marc Steutel’s men on the back foot.
Pace, precision and a slew of perfect finishes allowed the defeated Trophy finalists to open up an unassailable lead.
And if it was impossible to fault Newcastle’s effort and energy throughout a challenging third period, the hosts lacked the killer instinct required to keep pace with their relentless rivals.
On a night of many positives for the vanquished men in black, Austin Jr looked back to his best on the way to a double double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Ward-Hibbert was a player reborn as he packed the statline with seven rebounds, four boards, two steals and two assists in 19 minutes on his Vertu Motors Arena comeback.
And Rickey McGill capped off another positive night for the Eagles’ three-guard rotation, adding nine assists, four steals and three boards to his 16 points.