Bristol Flyers v Esh Group Eagles Newcastle
Where and when:
WISE Basketball Arena, 7.30pm Saturday 6 February
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle will travel to Bristol Flyers in an unfamiliar position on Friday.
Fab Flournoy’s BBL Cup winners still top the BBL Championship, but enter the weekend having lost each of their last two league games.
Defeat against Leicester Riders last Friday followed their first reverse since April against Worcester Wolves the previous week, meaning there could be a backlash in Bristol.
Flyers, however, did end their four-game losing run with an impressive all-round effort against Leeds Force last time out so will go into the game full of confidence.
Eagles are in BBL Trophy Semi-Final action against Wolves on Friday, so will have fatigue and a day of travel to battle, as well as Bristol.
Last time they met:
Bristol Flyers 71 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 84 (BBL Championship, WISE Basketball Arena, 10 October 2015)
Flyers: WLLLLW
Eagles: WWWLWL
Three Points:
  • Eagles have won all six meetings between these teams since Flyers joined the BBL last season
  • Scott Martin needs five more defensive rebounds to reach 500 in BBL Championship play
  • Eagles and Flyers rank second and third in the league respectively in blocks-per-game, 3.40 and 3.06
What they say:
Flyers guard Roy Owen: “Beating Leeds on our home floor was a crucial for us. We felt we hadn’t been playing anywhere close to our ability in recent games and we were determined to put that right.
“We only have thee games in February but have seven games in March. So our focus is to be at the best we have been all season by the end of this month, as how we do in March is probably going to end up defining our season
“We expect Newcastle to be just as good as they always are. We have played them before on weekends where they have a back-to-back games and it has never seemed to affect their performance. However, it’s a great challenge for us, to see where are in comparison to them at this part in the season.”
Eagles player/coach Fab Flournoy: “Bristol have been struggling with injuries but had a good win last week. It’s tough to do a 300-mile bus ride after a tough Friday night game so it will be about our recuperation and commitment to doing the little things when we get on the court.”
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Worcester Wolves
Where and when:
Sport Central, 7.30pm Friday 5 February
Hard work and control, rather than retribution, will be the focus for Esh Group Eagles Newcastle as they renew rivalries with Worcester Wolves in the BBL Trophy Semi-Finals on Friday.
Two weeks ago, Wolves ended Eagles’ incredible 28-game winning run, a defeat which was followed by a Leicester Riders reverse last weekend.
The result continued Wolves’ impressive recent record against the champions, as they were the only side Eagles failed to beat during the whole of their quadruple campaign last term.
But on Friday, the teams start afresh in their two-leg BBL Trophy Semi-Final, with a place against Leicester Riders or Sheffield Sharks at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena the prize.
Both teams are in BBL Championship action after this game, with the second leg to follow on Sunday 14 February.
Last time they met:
Worcester Wolves 94 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 80 (BBL Championship, University of Worcester Arena, 22 January 2016)
Eagles: WWWLWL
Wolves: WLLWWW
Three Points:
  • Wolves have won seven of the last 10 meetings between these teams
  • Eagles have won the BBL Trophy in four of the past seven seasons
  • Wolves’ BBL Trophy triumph in 2014 was club’s first-ever piece of BBL silverware
What they say:
Eagles player/coach Fab Flournoy: “We are 23-2 this season and have won the Cup Final. This is a tough league and the games come quickly. We just have to understand that we are going to get every team’s best shot and play hard and intelligently in every game.
“We are 1-1 with them this season and they deserved to win the game a couple of weeks ago. They have a talented group that is beginning to gel.”
Wolves guard Ashton Khan: “We have been able to put together a good run as a team by playing as one unit and trusting in one another.
“A lot of that has to do with communication on the defensive end of the court. We are talking and being active. We need to continue to trust and believe in one another to continue the success we been able to have in the past few weeks.
“We learned from beating Newcastle just not to rush shots, take good percentage shots on offence and play sound solid defence each possession.
“They can score in bunches and rushing our offence can play into their hands. Finding mismatches and using them to our advantage is another way we were able to score on Eagles. It will be a great Semi-Final match-up.”