Newcastle Eagles stated their intentions to complete the set of BBL silverware with an overpowering 93-56 victory in the first leg of their playoff quarter final with the Guildford Heat. Also, Leicester Riders pick up a satisfactory 92-76 success on the road against Sheffield Sharks.
The Eagles were led by Joe Chapman who had 33 points and 6 assists for the night. The precision shooting of Paul Gause also did the damage as he knocked down 8/13 from the field in a 25 point haul.
Guildford on the other hand struggled with their offence shooting at 35 percent as a team with their top scorer Martelle McLemore collecting 12 points. The Eagles exploded in the early exchanges opening a 24-11 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Newcastle maintained their demolishing momentum as they ended the half with back to back triples from Gause to head to the lockers leading comfortably at 48-32.
In the second half, the Heat could not salvage a run to trouble the league champions as the lead grew to as much as 37 points. Andrew Thomson and Chapman rounded off the contest as Chapman closed out the win with a three-point dagger. With a huge advantage in Newcastles favour they will travel down south in the return leg on Sunday full of confidence.
In tonights other quarter final, the Leicester Riders created a comfortable cushion against the Sheffield Sharks with a 92-76 first leg victory. Cameron Rundles claimed the top scoring honours with 25 points with Sheffield’s Olu Babalola netting 23 points.
Leicester started strongly as they made the best of the opening period gaining a 29-15 head start. Ryan Patton nailed a three pointer to cut the deficit to 11 but the Riders responded with seven unanswered points to take a 20 point halftime lead at 51-31.
In the closing stages, Rob Paternostro’s men steadily extended their grasp of the lead but the Sharks replied with a 22-8 finish to set up an interesting return leg with the Riders 16 points closer to the semi finals.