Newcastle Eagles and Charles Smith ripped up the record books to see off the threat of Plymouth Raiders and win the 2012 BBL Cup 115-94.
An incredible 21 points in the first quarter helped Smith to a BBL Cup Final record individual points contribution of 39, and was a big factor in helping the Eagles to break the previous team record of 103 too.
All the pre-game talk was that of predicting a closely fought cup final, but it was anything but as the Raiders failed to handle a dominant Newcastle offence which punished them for virtually the full 40 minutes.
A fast paced opening looked to suit the quick Plymouth team and it was Anthony Rowe who got the first points in this year’s final at the NIA in Birmingham, before Smith soon took centre stage.
First he landed a stunning three from the corner, and then after an early basket and steal by Paul Gause, Smith added two more three-pointers to give him 13 points inside the first seven minutes.
By now, the Raiders were struggling to keep up with the Eagles, and Smith was soon outscoring the whole Raiders team by himself, landing his fourth three pointer to make it 21 points in the first quarter, which the Eagles ended 35-20 to the good.
His hot streak showed no signs of extinguishing early in the second as, still under single coverage, he got the scoring underway once more, and by the 13 minute mark, the record books were already under threat with Smith having landed 28 points, just seven shy of the previous record set by Sheffield’s Steve D’Agostino in their cup final victory over Mersey Tigers last year.
As the Raiders fell 18 points down at 44-26, their fans were no doubt remembering their last appearance at a BBL showpiece event, when they were thrashed 103-49 by Everton Tigers in 2009.
But they managed to build up some momentum, and a Jeremy Bell steal with a few minutes left in the half reduced the deficit to single figures at 49-40. However, guard James Jones got himself in to foul trouble, and by half-time, had four fouls against his name, enabling Newcastle to steady the ship to go in at half-time 63-46.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Plymouth in the second half, and when they gave up their 16th turnover at 75-56, it looked like the challenge would be too much, and so it proved.
Smith tied the Cup Final record for points with 35 at 79-58, and was able to break the record moments later when Plymouth’s Paul Williams was fouled out.
Joe Chapman joined the party with a huge three, and by the end of the third quarter, Newcastle were 94-74 ahead and the team record was well in reach.
Fab Flournoy’s men were in cruise control in the final quarter, Smith picking up his last free throw of the afternoon to finish on 39 points, and the Eagles were soon past the previous team high of 103, with just under seven minutes left on the clock.
While Smith grabbed the headlines with his sensational MVP performance, he was ably supported by Paul Gause, who threw down 24 points, and Andrew Bridge with 16.
For the Raiders, Lehmon Colbert top scored with 25, with Jeremy Bell impressing with a haul of 23 points, but they simply didn’t have the defensive answer to the Eagles offensive dominance. They helped to contribute to a record aggregate score in a BBL Cup Final of 209.
It marks an end to Newcastle’s trophyless run and gives player-coach Flournoy his 14th title in the north east, some record.