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Injury and illness finally caught up with a beaten but unbowed Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles as the men in black ran out of steam against old foes Leicester.

A six-man rotation of senior pros had carried Marc Steutel’s men to the brink of this season’s Trophy Final Fours.

And hopes were high that one more Herculean effort would be enough to bag a berth in Birmingham next weekend.

Tajh Green got the better of Riders’ Miryne Thomas at tip off. (Photo: Gary Forster)

But after illness swept through the camp earlier in the week, Newcastle lacked the sharpness and killer instinct required to see off a typically well-drilled Leicester.

Steutel insisted his team could have executed better at key stages of the game and refused to look for excuses following a disappointing defeat.

And yet it was clear to see that the energy and drive underpinning big wins against Manchester and Bristol had been sapped from a roster stretched to the limit.

A lightning start — inspired by a fired-up Tajh Green — saw the hosts leap into an early 7-0 lead but Leicester playcaller Rob Paternostro had already seen enough.

An early time out got his team back on track and the visitors set about building an impressive 13-point lead after the opening period.

Kimbal Mackenzie kept finding gaps in the Eagles’ defence and Samuel Idowu came off the bench to add power in the paint.

But Green, Jordan Johnson and Rickey McGill all found their range early on to suggest not all was lost for the seven-times Trophy winners.

Larry Austin Jr helped the Eagles gain an early lead. (Photo: Gary Forster)

A stirring second quarter comeback halted the Riders’ advance as the Vertu Motors Arena faithful got behind their never-say-die favourites.

Veteran Darius Defoe — a member of the first Newcastle team to lift the Trophy against Nick Nurse’s Brighton Bears in 2005 — lead the charge.

The most decorated player in British basketball history stole the ball from Teddy Allen and raced coast to coast before converting under the glass.

Moments later Johnson drained an arcing triple to reduce the deficit to just four points and set Leicester nerves jangling.

Jordan Johnson helped narrow the scoreline in the second quarter. (Photo: Gary Forster)

But the US guard picked up his third foul of the game just 27 seconds before the break and, even then, that untimely infringement looked like it could prove costly.

Mackenzie jumped on the fact that Johnson was forced to tread carefully after the break and the North All-Star contender gained a fresh grip of the game in the third.

Riders extended their lead to 15 points heading into the final quarter and two fouls inside 24 seconds on Johnson — six minutes from time — finally killed the ‘win and in’ showdown as a contest.

Three Leicester players fouled out down the stretch but with a deep bench and a big lead the visitors could afford to be aggressive in the dying stages.

Green’s monster double double was a homecourt highlight and the former Giant deserved more from a tough night on Tyneside.

Tajh Green finished the game top scorer with 28 points. (Photo: Gary Forster)

Newcastle’s MVP added 11 boards to his 28 points to stay in the All-Star conversation ahead of next month’s vote.

And Green will be central to the Eagles’ success when a powerful Liege outfit hit the VMA on Tuesday for the resumption of ENBL action.