BBL Round-Up: Eagles within touching distance of title

Newcastle Eagles have one hand on the BBL regular season trophy after a thrilling 85-84 win over the Worcester Wolves on Friday evening.

A last-second Andrew Thomson tip-in gave Eagles the win as game came down to the final 26 seconds. Charles Smith made two free-throws before Sherrad Prezzie-Blue drove into the lane to score and draw a foul on Darius Defoe, adding the free-throw to see the Wolves leading 83-84 with 12 seconds to play. With the final possession, Thomson missed with three seconds left before a scramble ensued: Smith missed a tip in before Thomson got something on the rebound, watching it drop tantalising through the hoop to send the hosts into raptures.

Despite Thomson taking the headlines, Smith led the Eagles with 25 points and 9 rebounds, while Joe Chapman had 16 and Paul Gause scored 15 in just 13 minutes. Richie Gordon’s double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds led the Wolves, with his fouling out having  an impact on them down the stretch.

Eagles now need just one win from their final four games, and can clinch the title with a victory against 2011 winners Mersey Tigers on Friday, but coach Fab Flournoy isn’t celebrating yet.

“We will celebrate the league when it’s won, not before. Plymouth are again proving tough adversaries and if they win out then we know we still need one more win. Given every team we play has something to play for we simply cannot count wins before we earn them,” said Fab.



Worcester Wolves bounced back on Saturday as they defeated Guildford Heat for the sixth time this season, winning 85-77. Gordon led all scorers with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, while Prezzie-Blue added 21 points as the Wolves eclipsed the Heat in the third quarter to win the game. Tayo Ogedengbe led the Heat with 21 points.

UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders are now the only team who can deny Eagles their third piece of silverware this season but they were forced to settle for one win from two games over the weekend.

A second half comeback saw Raiders overcome a 20 point deficit to defeat the Prestige Homes MK Lions 100-93 on Friday evening. Point guard Jeremy Bell led the Raiders once more, with 28 points and 5 assists, while Michael Ojo added 23 points.

However Sunday’s game against old rivals Guildford Heat saw Gavin Love’s team’s title hopes take a massive hit with the Surrey Sports Park team winning 86-81. Trailing by 18 points at the start of the third quarter, the Heat worked their way back into the match before taking the lead for good at 80-79 on Tayo Ogedengbe’s free throw with just two minutes to play.

Ogedengbe ended the match with 23 points but it was former Raider Drew Lasker who was the biggest threat to his old club as he ended with a game-high 24 points. Anthony Rowe led Plymouth with 19 points.

Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders pulled away in the fourth quarter to keep the pressure on for a top two finish with an 83-70 victory at Mersey Tigers.

Leading by just two entering the final period, the Riders were tied at 60-60 with the battling Tigers with seven minutes 12 seconds on the clock when a Cameron Rundles three began a decisive 14-2 burst.

One Health Sharks Sheffield bounced back from three straight defeats and put consecutive home defeats behind them by beating the Durham Wildcats 79-73 on Friday to virtually wrap up a play-off spot. Forwards Mike Tuck, with 24 points, and Olu Babalola, with 20 points, led the Sharks, while guard Ryan Patton added 15.