Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Keep League Title Hopes Alive as Jaysean Turns Paige

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Keep League Title Hopes Alive as Jaysean Turns Paige

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Rushworth

NEWCASTLE EAGLES 89 LEICESTER RIDERS 85 EDEMPTION has never felt this good.

RJaysean Paige, widely pilloried for the lack of concentration that allowed Leicester Riders to win in Newcastle last time out, triumphantly atoned for that late mental slip with an offensive masterclass against the reigning champions.

The former West Virginia star hit a game-high 40 points to inflict a first defeat in 13 on the shellshocked visitors and keep this season's title race alive.

Paige started the game in style and finished it the undisputed MVP - his free throw at the death sealing a sensational victory against Rob Paternostro's men.

The sense of relief was palpable. Many fans blamed the irrepressible Paige for allowing the Riders to take the points four weeks ago.

With less than a minute on the clock the prolific American had fired his side in front but in celebrating an adrenaline-fuelled coast-to-coast score, he allowed Leicester to reply unchallenged and regain the initiative. It was a painful lesson in unprofessionalism.

Paige, to his credit, appeared determined to right that wrong and a sublime skills school quickly had the Riders chasing shadows in the early stages of this hotly-anticipated rematch.

The shooting guard's 17 first period points - including three terrific triples - underpinned a 30-21 advantage at the end of an impressive opening quarter.

That Paige failed to add to his total prior to the half-time buzzer was just one of the factors contributing to Leicester's stealthy progress thereafter.

The Riders don't get rattled. They just get better.

And after making light work of a nine-point deficit, the visitors found themselves 40-35 ahead midway through the second period.

Pierre Hampton and JR Holder had combined for an eye-catching 25 points but neither player had been asked too many questions by an Eagles defence missing in action. …

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