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Aaron Eamer

Aaron Eamer writes

Posted Tuesday, May 8th 2018

Analysis » By the numbers - Eagles @ Flyers - BBL play-offs

Bristol Flyers statistician, Aaron Eamer takes an in-depth look at the key stats from Flyers' historic 77-60 victory over Newcastle Eagles.

The Bristol Flyers were able to go one step further in confirming 2017-18 would be their best season to-date on Sunday afternoon, beating the Newcastle Eagles for the first time in their history and overturning an 11-point first leg deficit to seal a place in the semi finals of the BBL play-offs.

BOX SCORE


SLOW START

The second leg though started somewhat slowly for both sides and with five minutes gone the scoreline was set at only 6-2 to the Flyers. Bristol may well have done a great job defensively but early on weren’t exactly making the most of that to start chipping into the Newcastle advantage.

Fortunately things soon stepped up. Newcastle started off the better shooting side in the first period with 44% from the field, including 50% from three. This was quite the contrast to the home side that were shooting 32% and 22% in the same categories. Bristol though were able to register a positive impact on the offensive boards, something Newcastle struggled with in the first and Bristol’s five offensive rebounds gave them seven second chance points to keep them within distance of the former BBL Champions.

Bristol’s Rohndell Goodwin and Adam Weary started off struggling early on but starting point guard, Jordan Davis continued his recent good form with ten first quarter points to lead the way.

Bristol 19, Newcastle 19. The Eagles still holding that 11-point first leg advantage.

Jordan Davis had ten points in the first period

CHIPPING AWAY

Into the second quarter and things switched up as Bristol found their shooting touch. The Flyers were able to make nine of their 16 shots for the period drop, with the previously cold Rohndell Goodwin making three of his four attempts for seven points. 

After a quick start for Jordan Davis, he didn’t take a shot in the second period as he chose to contribute elsewhere on the box score, registering three steals and three assists in the quarter. The three assists meant Davis was responsible for a third of the Bristol scoring in the period.

Newcastle on the other hand began to struggle and their shooting had to be helped by six made free throws to help them keep up with Bristol’s intense defensive effort. The Eagles made just four shots in the quarter and Saah Nimley, who had caused the Flyers so many issues earlier this season, was leading the way; missing all six of his attempts as well as registering four turnovers for the game by half-time.

The majority of Newcastle’s points came from either the foul line (six) or from Bristol turnovers (nine) in a quarter where Bristol could have took complete control of the game, but instead settled for a modest approach, cutting into the Newcastle advantage by six. At the half Newcastle was down by six but still up by six on aggregate.

COMEBACK TIME

On to the second half and Bristol’s defence carried on exactly where they left off. To mirror the second quarter, once again the Flyers’ defence were able to hold Newcastle to just four made baskets - and this time, to go along with that, Newcastle weren’t able to get to the foul line as regularly, or able to make the free throws they did get, making just one of four.

Saah Nimley continued to force the game, only shooting threes and also registered another three turnovers, taking his tally up to seven for the game. But it wasn’t just him struggling for Newcastle as Drew Lasker continued to draw a blank with zero points, and the BBL’s leading scorer, Jaysean Paige obtaining his fourth foul of the contest to limit his opportunities.

For Bristol, Jordan Davis was responsible for half of the Flyers assists in the third (3/6) as Bristol shot 50% in the quarter. There was no single scorer for the home side that was doing the damage, making it difficult for the Eagles to know who to focus on.

At the end of the third it seemed that the game would likely be a win for Bristol as they led 58-43 but with the aggregate still involved it was now all about making sure that the lead stayed above 11. With ten minutes left the play the scoreboard showed Bristol up by 15 but in reality this was just a two possession game.

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Into the final period and Newcastle continued where they did in the third, shooting threes… Badly. The away side made just a single shot from behind-the-arc in the quarter and threw the ball up on nine occasions. Nimley, Lasker and Kai Williams each had three attempts for the Eagles, with Williams making the single triple.

In contrast, the Flyers only took ten shots in total in the final ten minutes! Six Bristol turnovers were what was allowing Newcastle to stay within reach and the Eagles added eight of their points in the period through Bristol’s mishandling of the basketball.

With Newcastle needing to start making their shots or face going home you’d expect them to rely on the league’s leading scorer, Jaysean Paige. Unfortunately for them, the decision to put him into the game from the very start of the final quarter backfired as he picked up his final foul and was forced to sit out the last eight minutes and watch his team struggle without him.

Although Bristol were only able to take ten shots in the final quarter, their 60% success rate ensured Newcastle weren’t able to form a comeback, making just one more successful field goal  for the period than the Flyers, despite taking 12 extra shots!

HISTORY MADE

The game ultimately came down to nothing but defence and shooting and Bristol seemed to play it patiently and perfectly against the former champions. 

With Newcastle shooting just 31% in comparison to Bristol’s 45% it meant Newcastle had to make up for that drop quite significantly other areas.

Whilst Newcastle did lead the way in committing fewer turnovers, giving it up four times less than the Flyers and scoring two more points than Bristol, those two points were a minimal gain. 

Newcastle led the way on offensive rebounding too, grabbing two extra offensive boards… They though scored two points less from those extra opportunities than Bristol did theirs, meaning that this cancelled out the two points they gained on turnovers.

At the end of the day Bristol kept Newcastle to 4/24 shooting from three-point range and it dragged the Eagles down. That, combined with Bristol’s effective shooting was enough to more than overturn the 11-point first leg deficit with Bristol coming out as winners by 17 points on the night and six on aggregate.

As the old cliché says, “You live by the three, you die by the three.”


About the contributor

A passionate fan of basketball since 2004, Aaron briefly played at SGS (then Filton College) under Head Coach Andreas Kapoulas.

Fast forward a number of years, Aaron now contributes to recording the statistics for the Flyers home games as a club Statistician, you’ll often find him sat at the table courtside taking stats into his laptop at every home game.

Do you agree with Aaron? Follow him on Twitter @eamer and let him know what you think!