Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Defoe Stars as Eagles Tame Lions in a Classic; FAB TRIUMPHS IN FRIDAY 13TH SHOWDOWN

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Defoe Stars as Eagles Tame Lions in a Classic; FAB TRIUMPHS IN FRIDAY 13TH SHOWDOWN

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON RUSHWORTH

FRIDAY the 13th was always going to be unlucky for one of the BBL's early-season pace-setters.

But Fabulous Flournoy makes his own luck.

And this was a battling win achieved in the New Yorker's own, irrepressible image: a hard-fought victory built on steely determination down the stretch. Nothing more and nothing less.

In the weeks and months to come Newcastle Eagles' breathless triumph against London Lions in this riveting top-of-the-table showdown might well mean much more than two valuable points against potential title rivals. It could be the glue that binds together a talented team in transition.

But from tip to buzzer the hosts were under serious, punishing pressure.

The biggest surprise at the end of a nervy first quarter was Saah Nimley's failure to make his presence felt on the scoreboard.

For once the 5ft 8in points machine was overshadowed by the irrepressible Jaysean Paige - the West Virginia graduate adding three rebounds, two assists and a steal to his game high 11 points.

If Newcastle's offence had been running oh so smoothly in the opening weeks of the BBL season then defence had been a different matter.

Earlier in the week Danish international Zarko Jukic, who once again started ahead of Croat Jure Gunjina, admitted the Eagles had work to do under their own basket.

It appeared that work had begun in earnest following Sunday's win against Manchester with the hosts restricting London to just 17 firstperiod points - it could have been fewer had Brandon Peel not leapt off the Lions' bench to hit late back-toback twos.

Leading by three heading into the second quarter and it was clear this hotly-anticipated fixture would be every bit as close as the pre-game statistics promised.

The last eight meetings between the two teams had been decided by 10 points or fewer and with neither side hitting their offensive stride, it seemed yet another nailbiter was on the cards. …

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