Jordan Johnson spearheaded a second half comeback as Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles fought back to beat Manchester Giants in their own backyard.
The US Guard proved too much for the hosts as he ended the game top-scorer and leading on assists.
The game didn’t look to be going the Eagles way as the Giants started the game with a high intensity and found themselves with a 12-point lead late in the first quarter.
Having beaten Caledonia Gladiators in magnificent style on Friday night it could be understandable if the Eagles were a little tired and some players only just start to return from injury.
One of those out of the team was Devin Whitfield despite only just coming back to the court with a quick spell against Gladiators.
Eagles though were quickly inspired by the former Giant Tajh Green in the second quarter as he closed the deficit with a couple of 3 pointers.
At the half-time whistle the hosts went back to the locker room with a 53-48 lead, however, the momentum was with the visitors.
This continued once the teams came back out and it wasn’t long until the Eagles were in front for the first time in the afternoon.
Johnson, Green and Austin Jr provided the intensity needed to overturn the score line as all three ended the game with more than 20 points.
However, it was Johnson who stood out as he provided the assist for Austin Jr to put the Eagles in the lead.
This seemed to be the pattern of the game as the former Gladiator provided 11 assists whilst the points were all shared out.
The game was still all to play for heading into the final quarter with only a 4-point lead but that lead quickly grew within the first minute as the Eagles kept countering and bouncing on any mistakes the Giants gave them.
In recent games the Newcastle have let a few results get by them in the final quarter, especially with the short rotations in their roster, but the Sunday afternoon tip-off wasn’t going to be one of those for the re-energised Eagles.
Head coach Marc Steutel will be thrilled that in the back-to-back victories over the Gladiators and Giants the team have looked strongest nearing the end of the game.
The Eagles lead by 21 points by the final buzzer as the visitors secured the 85-106 victory to now go level on points with 4th placed Leicester Riders as they continue to aim for the home-advantage in the play-offs.
With an away fixture coming up against bottom of the table Plymouth City Patriots coming up on Friday night, Steutel will be keen to keep the pressure on before this month’s international break.
However, attention now turns back to Europe as the Eagles welcome Polish side Zielona Gora on Tuesday night in the final tip-off of the ENBL group stages.
Steutel’s side have already confirmed qualification, but will be keen to keep the winning streak rolling as the game will decide the final standings and who they will play in the next stage.
Tickets for Tuesday night’s ENBL game are available from the box office.