Newcastle Eagles progressed to the semi-finals of the BBL Cup after a thrilling victory against arch-rivals Glasgow Rocks at Sport Central.
The Eagles came back from a 13 point deficit to edge a scrappy game 78-75, after a thrilling finale that saw the Rocks miss two chances to level the score in the dying seconds.
Both teams started the game poorly – scoring a combined 9 points between them in the first five minutes of play – before things picked up, and the Rocks edged the first period 16-15.
The Eagles went on a mini 5-0 run to start the second period before the Rocks pegged them back. When Fab Flournoy and then Darius Defoe picked up their third fouls late in the half it allowed the Rocks to take advantage and pull out a five point lead at 35-30 at half-time.
DeAundre Cranston picked up his fourth foul for the Rocks early in the third period, but it didn’t derail their momentum and a 9-0 run allowed them to pull out a 53-40 lead late in the period. A mini-run by the Eagles culminated in a Joe Chapman buzzer beating three-pointer, which got the Eagles back within five at 55-60 at the end of the third.
Chapman’s buzzer beater seemed to spark the Eagles into life, and an 11-0 run to start the 4th period helped them into a seven point lead and looked to have the Rocks on the back foot. But credit to the Rocks for never giving up, and they levelled the scores with just over four minutes to play in the game.
From that point the advantage see-sawed between the teams entering the final minutes, with the Eagles gaining the momentum on the back of a Charles Smith three-pointer with just under a minute to play. After a pair of free-throws by Andy Thomson increased the Eagles lead to three, before Rocks player/coach Sterllng Davis missed a three-pointer with nine seconds to play and then Gareth Murray missed a three at the buzzer to level the score.
The Eagles will play the winner of Sunday’s game between Cheshire Jets and Leicester Riders on Sunday in the two-legged Cup semi-final.