Sunday Roundup: Giants off to winning start and Eagles maintain 100% record in BBL Cup
Alex Ouandie celebrates with his Manchester Giants teammates (Source: @McrGiants, Twitter)

Newcastle Eagles capitalised on their OT win over the London Lions last time out with a thrilling 102-96 victory against Rob Paternostro's Leicester Riders.

 

The Eagles had all their starters post double-figure scoring stats in a important victory that condemned Leicester to their first opening day loss in fourteen campaigns.

 

Meanwhile, Cheshire Phoenix were left red-faced by a diminished Manchester Giants squad in a 98-92 loss. 

 

The Mancunian outfit were unable to field international players such as new signing Sam Cassell Jr. due to issues with international clearance, but took spirit with a localised core and triumphed over their rivals.

 

  • Eagles soaring to the summit

 

A 26 point effort from Evan Maxwell and Rahmon Fletcher double-double led the charge for their Eagles in a hotly contested game at the Morningside Arena.

 

Maxwell, along with new arrival Justin Gordon, were vital in the maintenance of the game's velocity, penetrating a notoriously challenging defensive setup mastered by Paternostro. 

 

Mo Walker made a significant cameo off the bench for the Riders, adding to the team's 57-points in the opening 20 minutes with a double-double of his own to boot.  

 

The final score was actually the biggest winning margin of the night for Newcastle, emerging unscathed and victorious afoot of arguably the most challenging of groups in the BBL Cup with two wins. 

 

The victory means two points are taken back to Tyneside, where the Eagles will hope their luck doesn't run out when the teams meet this Friday (November 13th).

 

  • Giant strides taken in first tie 

Danny Byrne and co. were not disheartened by the absentee Americans and had enough firepower to make up for it in the likes of Alex Ouandie and Jordan Whelan, who notched 23 and 24 points respectively.

 

The former went on a run of eight consecutive points in the opening quarter, including two from downtown to extend the margin between the sides to double figures. 

 

 

 

The third period, which concluded 27-17 in favour of the visitors, saw Whelan conclude the quarter with a six point haul and created a comfortable distance between the sides.

 

The 16 point edge coming into the game's closing stages was enough buffer to survive a late revival from Cheshire, as the Nix brought the tie to two-possession game.

 

Phoenix coach Ben Thomas described the performance as 'embarrassing', and reiterated that there was 'no complacency in the message to the players before the game' despite squad issues with the Giants. 

 

The final score was the result of a commendable effort from a squad with an average age of 22, having never lost the lead throughout and will hope to do the same when hosting the reverse fixture next time out. 

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