Fo­cused Paige is ready to take on Gi­ants


Sunday Sun - - Basketball -

AF­TER an­other stun­ning of­fen­sive dis­play on Fri­day night when the New­cas­tle Ea­gles recorded a 119-104 win over Glas­gow Rocks, they face a quick turn­around with a trip to Manch­ester Gi­ants this evening, The deadly Ea­gles back-court duo of point guard Saah Nim­ley, who net­ted 37 points, and shoot­ing guard Jay­sean Paige, with 33 points, com­bined for a stag­ger­ing 70-point tally dur­ing the Ea­gles’ 21st con­sec­u­tive com­pet­i­tive win over their Scot­tish ri­vals. It was, how­ever, Paige’s all-round game, which in­cluded seven steals, that edged him the MVP award on the night. Paige summed up his home de­but and looked for­ward to the trip to Manch­ester. “I was happy with the win but we need to put it be­hind us and be ready to move on to an­other im­por­tant road game on Sun­day against Manch­ester,” he said. “I feel I played well but I was more sat­is­fied with get­ting our first win at home and im­prov­ing to 2-0. “I thought we played well as a team but need to im­prove a lit­tle more de­fen­sively to take the next steps to­gether as a team.” Those sen­ti­ments were shared in the Ea­gles’ camp and, while a win is al­ways the aim, some­times the man­ner of the per­for­mance is also im­por­tant. Head coach Fab Flournoy al­ways takes pride in his team’s de­fence and con­ced­ing 104, al­beit in a win, cer­tainly gives him, his coach­ing team and the play­ers some­thing to work on in the early days of the sea­son. Paige is aware of the fact af­ter men­tion­ing that in his as­sess­ment and as he looks for­ward to Manch­ester this evening.

He said: “We just need to fo­cus on play­ing our brand of bas­ket­ball and, do­ing what we need to do and do­ing it the right way, we will be just fine.”

The Ea­gles will re­turn to Sport Cen­tral next Fri­day to face the im­pres­sive Lon­don Lions who have won their first three games of the sea­son.

“It could be a clas­sic match-up and an im­por­tant early-sea­son test for both teams.”

What will help the Ea­gles in that game is their su­perb home sup­port, a fac­tor Paige is very much aware of.

“There was a great at­mos­phere Sport Cen­tral on Fri­day,” he said.

“I want to thank all the fans for com­ing out and sup­port­ing us.

“Hope­fully, they can keep it up through­out the sea­son and give us that ex­tra en­ergy in a great en­vi­ron­ment as they did on Fri­day.”

To­day’s match in Manch­ester tips-off at 5pm. at

Drew Lasker in ac­tion for New­cas­tle Ea­gles against Glas­gow Rocks. In­set, MVP Jay­sean Paige

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