Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Worcester Wolves
Where and when:
Sport Central, 7.30pm Friday 20 November
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle set a new BBL Championship personal best last weekend, but this Friday they face the one team they failed to get the better of during the 2014/15 season.
Fab Flournoy’s side may have emerged from another incredible campaign with all four pieces of silverware last term, but Worcester Wolves won all three games against the all-conquering Eagles.
Eagles have now made their best-ever start to a BBL Championship season this time round, however, after wins against Sheffield Sharks and Manchester Giants extended their perfect opening to 10 games.
Wolves were beaten by Cheshire Phoenix last Friday, their second home defeat in seven days, before bouncing back to overcome Plymouth Raiders and sit on a 7-2 record.
Last time they met:
Worcester Wolves 88 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 81 (BBL Championship, University of Worcester Arena, 03 April 2015)
- Wolves were triumphant in all three meetings with Eagles last season
- In the previous four seasons a team has made a 10-0 start in the league, they have gone on to claim the title
- Eagles and Wolves are two of the league’s top three teams in terms of field-goal shooting percentage, converting 54.27% and 51.92% respectively
What they say:
Eagles guard/forward Charles Smith: “We got another great win [last weekend] and we got contributions from everyone which made it even better.
“Another big game this weekend against Worcester. PJ’s teams are always going to play hard and compete. We have to scout and watch film on their team and understand what they want to do and stop them from doing that and make it as uncomfortable for them as we can.
“It’s still early stages but if you go by their record so far, you have to put Wolves in the mix. There are a few teams that will be in the conversation but I also think there will be a few surprises between now and the end of the season. So I will let other people talk about who is in the mix, I’m just going to go out and help Newcastle Eagles win games so that we can stay in the mix.”
Wolves forward Pavol Losonsky: “We have not been playing too well lately, which cost us the game against London and another home game against Cheshire. I am not trying to take any credit away from those two teams because they came ready to play. We have had some issues with defence, rotations and just playing together and enjoying the game.
“We can do many different things in practice and coach can draw Xs and Os, but if we don’t come ready to play hard with intensity and the right mind-set, then it doesn’t matter. We just have to go back to basics and most importantly enjoy playing with one another, and stay together as a team through good and bad as well.
“Newcastle are always a very tough opponent and they have been playing well again this season. We can only focus on our journey, what we do and how we play. I am not feeling any pressure, and I am sure guys feel the same way. I always like playing these big games and we will be ready to play our hardest on Friday.”