Ea­gles are hop­ing to break Rock dom­i­na­tion


Sunday Sun - - Basketball - Jeff King

NEW­CAS­TLE Ea­gles head north over the bor­der for their sec­ond BBL Cham­pi­onship game of the sea­son against their fierce old ri­vals, Glas­gow Rocks this af­ter­noon.

The Ea­gles will be look­ing to build on their open­ing night home 70-65 vic­tory last week­end against Cheshire Phoenix.

But, it won’t be easy against a Rocks side brim­ming with tal­ent which mixes vast ex­pe­ri­ence with new en­ergy and ath­leti­cism in the form of four play­ers new to the Glas­gow or­gan­i­sa­tion and The BBL.

Last sea­son, Glas­gow broke a 21-game los­ing streak against New­cas­tle with a home vic­tory in early De­cem­ber and then later in the cam­paign re­peated the dose against their North East ri­vals to take the sea­son head-to-head se­ries for the first time in more than a decade.

Four of that Rocks squad, all Scots, in Cap­tain Ke­iron Achara and fel­low GB In­ter­na­tional Gareth Mur­ray and Scot­tish In­ter­na­tion­als Alas­tair Fraser and Jonny Bun­yan, will all suit up again as they look to con­tinue their own win­ning run.

Add in three new USA im­ports and Nor­we­gian In­ter­na­tional Bouna Ndi­aye and it’s easy to see the task fac­ing Ea­gles head coach Fab Flournoy and his team.

The Ea­gles will also not be at full­strength fol­low­ing the re­lease of rookie guard Ah­mad Thomas.

It is ex­pected ei­ther vet­eran Drew Lasker or rookie Kyle Wil­liams will step up to re­place Thomas in the start­ing five for a game New­cas­tle are des­per­ate to win to main­tain their 100% start to the BBL sea­son.

The Rocks have a fast-paced run­ning style which the vis­i­tors will look to slow down as well as en­sur­ing the Scot­tish out­fit don’t get any open looks from three-point range where they can be very dan­ger­ous.

New­cas­tle’s key to their game will, as usual, be their at­ten­tion to de­tail on de­fence from which they hope to spark enough of­fence to see the record a sec­ond Cham­pi­onship win of the sea­son.

Mean­while, Flournoy and his coach­ing staff con­tinue to look hard to find a re­place­ment for Thomas, search­ing for some­one they feel will be the right fit for their ros­ter’s play­ing style this sea­son.

They are work­ing be­hind the scenes in this re­spect to en­sure there is as lit­tle dis­rup­tion to the re­main­ing ros­ter as they pre­pare for this af­ter­noon’s game.

Ea­gles will be hop­ing that cap­tain Dar­ius De­foe who net­ted 18 points com­ing off the bench against Cheshire and on-court gen­eral Rah­mon Fletcher who had 14 points and 10 as­sists can con­tinue that form against Glas­gow and in­spire the rest of their team-mates to step up to cover the hole left by Thomas’s de­par­ture.

The game at The Emi­rates Arena, Glas­gow tips-off to­day at 5pm.

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