Injuries take their toll on the Glasgow Rocks

Injuries take their toll as the Rocks lose their way against the Eagles


Newcastle Eagles 97 (27,46,70) (Smith 28, Defoe 21, Thomson 17)

Glasgow Rocks 71 (27,45,59) (Green 16, Murray 15, Cranston 13)

The league-leading Newcastle Eagles sent a message to their BBL Championship rivals as they beat the Glasgow Rocks 97-71 in the battle between the league’s two northernmost teams, overcoming the third-placed Rocks for the second time in the league in little over a month.

The Eagles did the damage in the third quarter with Charles Smith leading all scorers on the night with 28 points, Darius Defoe notching 21 and Andrew Thomson posting a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds.

A quick start to the game saw the teams tied at 9 after three minutes with Danny Huffor scoring 5 early points for the visitors, and another of his baskets gave the Rocks a 10-13 lead midway through the period. Paul Gause tied the game immediately with a three-pointer but the Rocks pushed on as five straight points from DeAndre Cranston and a Gareth Murray triple helped them to a 19-25 lead with two minutes to play in the quarter. But the Eagles finished strongly to tie the game at 27 as Charles Smith scored 8 straight points, including two three-pointers of his own.

After a high-scoring first period, the Eagles failed to register in the first two and a half minutes of the second stanza meaning they had a six and a half minute period in which only Smith scored. Another Murray triple, making the score 29-35, forced the Eagles into a timeout from which they emerged with consecutive Darius Defoe baskets from Gause feeds before Smith tied it up again at 35; and they were back in front a couple of minutes later at 42-39 on Andrew Bridge’s three-pointer. The hosts held that lead through to the half at 46-45, with Smith on 18 points.

The Eagles carried their momentum into the third quarter and stretched their lead, seeing it reach 8 points at 63-55 on Thomson’s three-pointer and then 68-59 as he repeated the trick within the final minute of the period. The lead reached double-figures before the third was finished as Gause’s buzzer-beater made it 70-59.

Andrew Wedemire set about trying to get the Rocks back in the game with an early three-pointer in the fourth quarter, but the revival was stopped before it started as Smith made a triple in response and the Eagles posted an 8-0 burst soon after to see the lead reach 81-64 on another Smith basket. The lead peaked at 26 points in a dominant fourth quarter that the relentless Eagles won 27-12.

The Rocks once again struggled with their injuries with both EJ Harrison, and Sterling Davis watching from the sidelines with star guard Mychal Green also struggling with a knee/hip injury as well as his ongoing thumb injury. It seems like the Rocks biggest hurdle this season has been their ongoing list of casualties. They now have 2 weeks to rest their battered bodies before they take on the Mersey Tigers in Kelvin Hall on the 22nd January @ 5:00pm..