Newcastle’s march to the BBL Championship title continued as they beat Leicester Riders 99-82 on Friday night.
In the first of three league games between the two between now and the rest of the season, the Eagles proved too strong, leading from the moment Charles Smith fired them 4-2 in front early doors.
Paul Gause top scored with 28 points, ably supported by Smith’s 21, as the Eagles picked up their 19th win of the season, and sent Rob Paternostro’s side to their fifth defeat, the same number as both Worcester and Plymouth.
For the Riders, Ayron Hardy fell just two assists short of a remarkable triple triple double, but it was their poor shooting percentages that cost them, landing just 33 from 79 field goals and only 63% of their attempts from the free throw line.
In Friday’s other game, Sheffield consolidated their play-off spot with a 99-82 victory over Mersey Tigers.
Mike Tuck top scored with 33 points and Jimmy Langhurst contributed 32 for the Sharks, while Sam Cricelli’s 29 for the Tigers was in vain.