Glasgow Rocks v Esh Group Eagles Newcastle
Where and when:
Emirates Arena, 5.00pm Wednesday 30 December
The last obstacle between Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and heading into 2016 unbeaten is an in-form Glasgow Rocks.
Sterling Davis’ side have begun to really show what they are capable of in recent weeks, after getting players back from injury.
Five wins in six – including each of their last three – demonstrates that, although the solitary loss in that sequence was at home against Eagles, 80-72.
The champions continue to roll on, however. Fab Flournoy’s side beat Plymouth Raiders and Cheshire Phoenix last weekend to extend their winning run to a club record 24 games, stretching back to last season.
But in an improving side they have already faced twice this term, they face a tough test.
Last time they met:
Glasgow Rocks 72 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 80 (BBL Championship, Emirates Arena, 29 November 2015)
- Rocks’ last victory against Eagles was in April 2012
- Rahmon Fletcher led all scorers with 19 points when these teams met last month
- Only Eagles have a better record than Rocks during the last six games
What they say:
Rocks coach Sterling Davis: “From the beginning I said we had room for improvement and as long as we are moving in the right direction, we can be satisfied, and I think we are definitely starting to do that and the belief is coming into play. We still have some way to go but things are starting to take shape.
“We were really trying to focus on the amount of points we were giving up per game and I think we have done pretty well with that. On the other side of it is learning how to close out basketball games.
“Every game we’ve had over the last couple of weeks has come down to the latter stages of the fourth quarter and we have found ways to close out games and that is something early in the season we needed to work on and I’ve seen progress with that.
“The two times we have played Newcastle, they have been very competitive and very close basketball games. It’s just being able to close out those games, especially against a good team, and if we can do that against Newcastle we are definitely going in the direction we need to go.
“There is no question about the intensity level that Newcastle are playing at right now and the success they are having. We have to be motivated to win the game, as opposed to just being in the game with them.”
Eagles guard/forward Charles Smith: “It’s a great feeling, being a part of such a special team with a great group of guys that give their all for one another each night.
“The main reason we keep it going is that we don’t count how many wins in a row there are, we don’t get ahead of ourselves. We play each game as it comes and go out to win each and every game.
“We have played [Glasgow] twice and both games were very competitive. They are coached very well and play hard every night. We will need to match their energy, especially in their building and control the pace of the game.”