Date Time League Season
May 12, 2024 1:30 pm Men's Playoffs Semi-Finals 2023-24

Marc Stuetel admits he’s ‘desperate’ to keep Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles’ season alive as the men in black prepare for this afternoon’s date with destiny in London.

It’s win or go home for the playoff semi-finalists after Peter Božić’s Lions cruised to victory in game one at the Vertu Motors Arena on Friday.

Defeat against London Lions at the Vertu Motors Arena now means the Eagles Men have to win in the second-leg. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And nobody outside the close-knit Newcastle camp is predicting anything less than another comfortable win for London’s stacked roster when the two teams clash again at the Copper Box (tip-off 1.35pm).

But the bruised Eagles believe they can bounce back from a crushing 106-75 homecourt loss to force a decisive game three.

And Steutel said: “We’re still one the last four teams standing and we’ve not settled for that.

“We understand the size of the challenge in front of us but we always knew that if we wanted to win in London at next weekend’s playoff final then we’d have to get through London.

“Of course I’m proud of my players this season and how they’ve managed to make it this far.

“But I’m desperate that this journey doesn’t end. I love coming into work with this group every day and I don’t think anyone wants to call it a day just yet.”

On the face of it, Newcastle need a miracle to keep their Final Fours series alive with a fully fit Lions roster ready to roar.

The Londoners accelerated through the gears following a close-fought first half on Friday.

And Božić’s men underlined their strength in depth by pouring in a staggering 72 points off the bench.

Eagles Men only scored 26 points in the final two quarters against a dominant Lions. (Photos: Gary Forster)

The Eagles appeared to have gained an early advantage after both Morgans — Matt and Conor — picked up early fouls.

But that only served to unleash David Nwaba (19 points in 17 minutes), Josh Sharma (18 pints and five boards) and Donte Grantham (17 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals).

“They are a very talented basketball team,” added Steutel. “And, you know, they got to where they got to in the Euro Cup based on that talent.

“Based on those performances it’s fair to say that they’re one of the top 20 teams in Europe and that illustrates what we’re up against.

“We understand who they are but we know who we can be. All season I’ve tried to reset our guys and remind them that it’s all about us.

“If we can do the things that make us a very good basketball team for longer periods in the game then we have a chance.”

Newcastle head to London knowing today’s clash is a free hit and fans can expect all-out offence from a team that rarely struggles to score.

However, the Eagles need Rickey McGill to stay in the game after the firebrand guard was ejected on the back of a double technical on Friday.

And the visitors will need a big scoring contribution from Tajh Green and Larry Austin Jr after both starters struggled from the field in game one.

Despite being Eagles top scorer at the Vertu Motors Arena against Lions on Friday Rickey McGill was ejected after frustrations grew. (Photos: Gary Forster)

Malcolm Delpeche — who bagged 10 points, six boards and two steals in 22 minutes against the Lions — could yet play a key role in the Lions series.

But Steutel knows his entire roster needs to step up if Newcastle are to pull off the shock result of the season.

“I want to do everything that we can to beat them,” he added. “We’ve just got to leave everything out there.

“At this time of the year everyone raises their level of competition and their level of physicality and guys are locked in.

“We know what’s worked when we’ve had success against London in the past. We just have to rediscover that form.”