Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Have One Foot in Semis after Getting off to a Flyer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Have One Foot in Semis after Getting off to a Flyer

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON RUSHWORTH

NEWCASTLE EAGLES 97 BRISTOL FLYERS 86 EARLIER this week Newcastle Eagles' owner Paul Blake suggested it was time to shake up the BBL play-offs and reintroduce a three-game series at the quarter-final stage. In the wake of this demoralising 11-point defeat on Tyneside, one match might seem more than enough for a well-beaten Bristol Flyers.

It is difficult to imagine the most dominant franchise of the modern era allowing their opponents a way back into this two-legged tie. Newcastle boast a 17-0 record against Bristol in all competitions, and it seems unlikely the Flyers will snap that losing streak tomorrow - let alone break their duck against the Eagles on the back of a 12-point win.

Andreas Kapoulas's side might have enjoyed their best-ever regular season finish after securing sixth spot last weekend.

But there is still a significant gulf in class between third-placed Newcastle and their quarter-final opponents, and from tip to buzzer the visitors struggled to suppress an Eagles' side boasting a wealth of offensive weapons. Where containing Saah Nimley was concerned, Bristol's gameplan appeared straight out of the General Patton guide to getting the job done: do your duty as you see it and damn the consequences.

Newcastle's nimble number one was crudely fouled twice in the space of a minute midway through the opening quarter and each hefty collision caused the Charleston Southern graduate to crash to the floor.

But Nimley is a tough nut to crack. An ever-present throughout a feisty first period, the 5ft8in pocket rocket took five points, four assists and a handful of bruises into the break. He would be back to finish the game with a mighty 19 points and 12 assists.

Just 10 minutes in and the Eagles had established an eight-point lead - leaving the Flyers in no doubt that it would require a Herculean effort to snap that unenviable losing streak. …

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