The Newcastle Eagles punched their ticket into the BBL Cup final with a thumping 84-57 win at home to the Sheffield Sharks in the 2nd leg of their semi-final.
Paul Gause led an impressive scoring display from the Eagles as his 20 points, helped by double-doubles from Darius Defoe [14 points, 13 rebounds] and Scott Martin [17 points and 13 rebounds] propelled Newcastle to their third straight final. They won 163-139 on aggregate after an 82-79 loss in Sheffield in the 1st leg.
The Sharks led 17-16 after a closely fought first quarter of play, continuing from where the first game left off. But a 13-0 run early in the second quarter proved to be the game-changer as the Eagles ran riot after that, easing their way to next month’s final in Birmingham.
The Eagles now face Leicester Riders in what will be a rematch of last year’s final.
Sheffield were led by BJ Holmes, who scored 14 points.
SHARKS END WEEKEND ON A HIGH, GO TOP
Despite the disappointment of their semi-final defeat, Sheffield went top of the league after a 93-75 win against the Birmingham Knights.
It was a comfortable win in the end for the Sharks who went on a 19-0 run early in the first period to 26-15 up and from there, seal the game.
Nick Lewis led the Sharks with 17 points with Mike Tuck adding 16. Brent Benson led all scorers for the Knights with 26.
That was the first of two defeats for the winless Birmingham side this as they
were hammered 104-76 by the visiting Plymouth Raiders.
The side from Devon held the Knights to just 11 points in the first ten minutes, while hitting 35 points themselves. From there, Plymouth were always in control of the one-sided affair.
Nick George led Plymouth with 23 points while Brent Benson led the Knights with a game-high 27.
Leicester Riders meanwhile stayed near the top of the BBL table with two wins over the weekend. They first beat a strong London Lions side 91-78 at the JSSC with Anthony Downing leading the way with 21 points. They then travelled south to Guildford and thrashed Surrey United 85-56 as the BBL champions end week 12 in third place.
Jay Couisnard led the way with 17 points and winless Surrey, who are showing slight signs of improvement, albeit in small doses were paced by Lithuanian Ceslovas Kucinskas, who also hit 17.
Surrey’s fortunes didn’t get off to the best of starts, as they were defeated 101-79 by free scoring Worcester Wolves.
A 38-point second quarter, 30 of them in a five-minute spell proved to be United’s undoing as Alex Owumi hit 20 points in the win.
The other two games in the week’s fixture list saw Glasgow Rocks edge the Durham Wildcats 76-70 with Gareth Murray leading the way with 18 points. And Cheshire Phoenix won the north-west derby 100-88 against Manchester Giants.
Dominique Coleman led the visitors to victory with 34 points.