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It’s win or go home for Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles in London after the Lions proved too strong for Marc Steutel’s playoff hopefuls.

Game one of this season’s semi-final series was still hanging in the balance at the half following a feisty opening 20 minutes.

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

But London came out after the break firing on all cylinders to reinforce their reputation as arguably the most talented roster to have graced the British Basketball League.

The full-strength visitors won the second half 50-26 on the back of ruthless offence and stifling defence.

And Newcastle had no answer to a Lions bench that poured in 72 points — David Nwaba, Josh Sharma, Tarik Phillip and Donte Grantham all hitting double figures.

Lions won the battle of the boards 51-35 as Eagles bigs Darius Defoe, Tajh Green Malcolm Delpeche and Will Neighbour faced an onslaught of power and precision in the paint.

And while Steutel’s men could only shoot 31 per cent from the field, the visitors hit a staggering 57 per cent — including 35 from 51 from two-point range.

But if underdogs Newcastle need hope heading into game two then the Eagles must look at what they did right before half-time.

Impressive hustle, neat shot selection and better discipline on defence caused league champions London to reassess their gameplan.

Eagles Men headed into the break only 7 points behind. (Photos: Gary Forster)

And frustration got the better of big guns Matt and Conor Morgan with both players forced to sit down early after picking up a brace of fouls apiece.

A flurry of infringements during the first period led to a disjointed opening quarter with the officials determined to crack down on the slightest evidence of foul play.

And that scrappy start appeared to suit Steutel’s men as they opened up a 29-26 lead on the back of a red hot Rickey McGill.

The US guard carried the previous week’s form into the semis as he sank a phenomenal 14 first quarter points.

But it was McGill’s ejection in the second half, after he picked up a double technical, that signalled the end of the Eagles’ resistance.

London led by seven at the break on the back of a 30-20 second period and if home fans felt momentum was slowly shifting towards Peter Božić’s global all stars then they were right.

The visitors dominated the third and fourth quarters to take a giant step towards the playoff final at London’s O2 Arena on May 19.

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

And Newcastle will need a sporting miracle for the ages to turn around mission impossible at the Copper Box and take this tie to a third game.

Keeping McGill on court will be key after he led all Eagles scorers with 20 points.

Jordan Johnson chipped in with 19 and Delpeche added 10 but Steutel will need Larry Austin Jr, Josh Ward-Hibbert and Green to produce more at the offensive end if the Eagles are to cause a shock and keep their season alive.