Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Revived Eagles Return to Form

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Revived Eagles Return to Form

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON RUSHWORTH

Newcastle Eagles 95

Plymouth Raiders 81

RUMOURS of Newcastle's demise have been greatly exaggerated. A stunning demolition of a Plymouth team which has caused the Eagles countless problems in the past proved to be a shot in the arm for the men in black and a suitably fierce response to the franchise's growing army of critics, writes SIMON RUSHWORTH.

Player-coach Fabulous Flournoy always expected to witness an upturn in his club's fortunes following the comeback of controversial shooting guard Jeremy Hyatt. A healthy home court crowd arrived early at the Metro Radio Arena in anticipation of J-Hi's return.

In fact the BBL veteran failed to board yesterday's flight from America and is not now expected to arrive in the North-East until tomorrow night at the earliest as he attends to his poorly mother.

Still, Flournoy was proved right in his pre-match prediction of a Newcastle revival and Hyatt can only add to last night's exciting mix of at-tacking verve and defensive determination.

Right from the off the Eagles were firing on all cylinders and following back-to-back losses against Sheffield and Milton Keynes, finally looking like the team which swept all before them last term.

And it was rookie Clemson graduate Shawan Robinson who went on to steal the Newcastle show as he responded perfectly to the news that the man he was signed to replace will be back on Tyneside this week.

The shooting guard claimed an Eagles high 24 points and chipped in with six assists as he demonstrated the all-round game which will surely flourish in the BBL.

Twelve first-quarter points, including a brace of crowd-pleasing scores, enhanced a superb home-court debut and Robinson will become an instant favourite on the back of performances such as this.

Plymouth's Geordie play-caller Gary Stronach must have wished his Raiders had stayed in the south west as he saw his team trail 30-13 with seconds of the first period remaining. …

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