British Basketball League’s top two met on Tuesday night at the Liverpool Echo Arena, as the Mersey Tigers almost let a 17-point lead slip, but in the end defeated the Newcastle Eagles, 88-84.
Great Britain international Nate Reinking led the Tigers efforts with 19 points. Reggie Jackson led all scorers in vain for Newcastle with 27 of his own.
Pole position at the top-of-the-table was the prize awaiting these two teams, and it was the hosts who looked to be cruising to their fifth straight success against the Eagles, as they held a 17-point cushion at one point, when a fourth quarter fightback rocked the Tigers, as Newcastle roared back – making it a one possession game at 86-83, entering the final minute.
The controversy occurred with 15 seconds left, when Eagles’ player-coach Fabulous Flournoy was called for an offensive foul on Tigers’ Andrew Sullivan by referee Paul Walton, after Sullivan went down to the ground following a screen by Flournoy.
This triggered a mass protest on the Eagles bench, as Flournoy looked on in amazement at what had just been called.
Tigers’ Andrew Thompson sealed the Eagles fate from the line, but Newcastle’s coach and assistant Dave Forrester protested with the officials the moment the final buzzer sounded, and followed them back to the locker room.
This victory puts the Mersey Tigers in the driving seat, as they have won the regular season series against the Eagles and have a game-in-hand, as the BBL enters its final month of the season.
Could this call determine the outcome of the BBL season? You be the judge.
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net
Video courtesy of www.basketballviews.com