Newcastle Eagles stated their position at the top of the BBL Championship with a convincing 99-82 victory over the Leicester Riders in a top of the table clash.
Eagles point guard Paul Gause grabbed the high scoring honours with a commanding 28 points, shooting 9/14 from the field. He was supported by impressive figures from Charles Smith who claimed 21 personal and Andrew Thomson posted a double double of 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Geordies raced into a 14-4 lead with Gause sinking a score but coach Paternostro’s Riders battled back to cut the deficit to four points with a Yorrick Williams triple. That was the only score the Riders would make in open play in the first ten minutes as the Eagles gained a double digit advantage at 23-13.
The Eagles maintained their relentless offence and a 9-0 burst towards the end of the first half saw them comfortably in front at 46-29.
Leicester’s Bradd Wierzbicki netted 25 points on the night, and he combined with Cameron Rundles who had 16 points to create a short fightback and trim the lead to single digits. This did not worry the home side, as two consecutive three point daggers from Smith sparked a scoring run that would see the lead reach 20 points, heading into the final stanza at 81-57.
The Riders have been known for their never say die attitude this season, but they could not create a run big enough to change the outcome as the Eagles held on for the win.