BBL: Leicester Riders beat Newcastle Eagles to win the Cup

Leicester Riders have claimed the first piece of silverware of the 2012-13 British Basketball season after they beat the Newcastle Eagles 85-80 in a dramatic finish to the BBL Cup final.

Considering the Eagles and Riders are sitting top of the BBL leader board, it came as no surprise that the first quarter at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham was very close.

Leicester, who lost to the Eagles in the play-off final last season, ended it 20-17 ahead.

The second quarter was also hard-fought and a superb three-pointer from Joe Chapman put Newcastle back in front.

But a series of great plays from the Riders gave them a bit of breathing space and they went into the half-time break 45-36 up.

Leicester kept up the pressure in the third quarter and it looked as if the Riders had the game in the bag when they ended it with a 65-51 advantage.

The Eagles demonstrated that they are not to be written off as Charles Smith sparked a 14-2 burst to tie the game up at 78-78 with 1:25 remaining in the game.

Newcastle player-coach Fab Flournoy’s basket with 1:05 left gave the Eagles the lead at 80-79, but a huge three-pointer from Zaire Taylor edged the Riders ahead once again at 80-82 with 45 seconds remaining.

The Eagles had chances to win the game, but Chapman and Damon Huffman missed their three-point attempts, while Calvo and Anthony Rowe held their nerve from the foul-line to secure the victory for the Riders.

It was their first piece of silverware in 12 years and only the third in their 45-year history.

Jay Cousinard contributed 17 points for the victors, while Jamell Anderson and Rowe added 15.

Chapman was unlucky to be on the losing side after scoring 29 of Newcastle’s points.

Riders coach Rob Paternostro said: “We finally got what we deserved. This was a great team effort and I feel so proud of the guys. We believed all the way that we could do this, and this is a great day for the club.”