Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Are Too Hot in Late Show against Scorchers; NEWCASTLE EAGLES 87 SURREY SCORCHERS 76

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Are Too Hot in Late Show against Scorchers; NEWCASTLE EAGLES 87 SURREY SCORCHERS 76

Article excerpt

CAN raw talent trump proven experience? Four weeks ago and the answer appeared blindingly obvious.

Thrills, spills and audacious skills had catapulted new-look Newcastle to the summit of the BBL Championship table in double-quick time.

Undefeated in the league and undaunted by a journey into the unknown, it seemed the Eagles' red-hot rookies were coasting towards greatness and laughing in the face of a potentially tricky period of transition.

Fans were delirious, opponents feared the worst and even an atypically hasty exit from the BBL Cup couldn't dissuade onlookers that Newcastle had that familiar look of champions elect.

But not to everyone. Significantly, player-coach Fabulous Flournoy kept his counsel when asked how a team with serious potential compared to the proven quality of the classes of 2006, 2012 and 2015.

And on the back of successive away defeats, the veteran New Yorker revealed the reason behind a rather worrying pre-Christmas slump: Newcastle's new boys simply never saw it coming.

He did. He saw the overconfidence. He identified the lack of focus. And he had a gut feeling that the Eagles' collective inexperience would come back to haunt them.

Whether Surrey - having stealthily moved towards a 6-6 season record - would be the team to rub salt into the wounds was anyone's guess.

But the Scorchers clearly sensed an upset as they opened up a 9-5 first quarter lead in the face of Newcastle's strongest starting five. Jaysean Paige, Saah Nimley, Zarko Jukic, Kai Williams and Darius Defoe had looked indestructible on their way to dishing out a punishing 103-80 league defeat to Surrey just four weeks earlier. Fast forward to this increasingly significant BBL Trophy rematch and it was the visitors who dominated the early exchanges against a nervy, indecisive and far from convincing Eagles.

Flournoy - who had played just 66 seconds against Glasgow Rocks seven days earlier - stepped off the bench alongside fellow veteran Drew Lasker in a bid to add some veteran nous to Newcastle's wayward new boys. …

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