Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Eagles Deliver Perfect Riposte; Win Silences Critics

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Eagles Deliver Perfect Riposte; Win Silences Critics

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN WARBURTON

Newcastle Eagles 104

Leicester Riders 88

APATCHED-up Eagles outfit last night bounced back from defeat to demolish the travelling Leicester Riders, writes DAN WARBURTON.

A bout of illness tore through the Tynesiders' dressing room only five days after the Scottish Rocks ended play-caller Fab Flournoy's blistering 10-game winning streak.

But the New Yorker inspired his flu-ridden roster to beat Martin Ford's men inside the Metro Radio Arena.

And after the Riders' coach had claimed the Eagles were in a state of crisis with roster unrest and player spats, Flournoy sent Ford back to Leicester to lick his wounds as he closed out a 16-point game with relative ease.

Any doubts that Flournoy would go easy on his team after they crumbled against Sterling Davis's team last week were soon repressed as the Eagles took an early lead. Within minutes, the home side had opened up a five-point gap, but having blazed a 7-2 tear in the opening moments, the Eagles lost control as Ford's men clawed their way back into the game.

Joel Burns hit two points from the free-throw line before grabbing a basket inside the paint to level the game with three minutes left of the first quarter.

But points from Richard Midgley and Darius Defoe restored the Eagles' slender two-point lead, and when the Riders emerged from the interval they went ahead with only seconds gone.

American Kyle Greathouse scooped a massive three-point shot to propel his side into the lead and give the Eagles an early scare.

However, Charles Smith replied and made sure that the home side maintained control.

It was the fiery Lithuanian Mandaugas Janiska who kept the pressure on Flournoy's nervy roster.

Warned for throwing a stray elbow under the Riders' basket, Janiska scored six points in the second quarter to keep Ford's men in contention. …

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