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Report: Newcastle Eagles 84-82 Bristol Flyers (181-176 agg)

A gutsy performance from Bristol Flyers was not enough to overcome a resilient Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals.

Flyers pushed their hosts all the way, but Eagles were victorious 84-82 on the night and 181-176 over the two legs.

Hameed Ali led the way for Flyers, playing all 40 minutes with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.

What Happened?

Flyers' spirited 30-point comeback in game one gave them a fighting chance to knock out the second seeded Eagles. With the odds stacked against them, Coach K trusted that his team would show the same character they had all season. For the visitors, this Play-Off match up was far from over. 

Bristol Flyers came into the contest needing to win by at least four points to advance to the semi finals.

Newcastle's Darius Defoe opened the scoring on their first possession of the game, inside for a short two-pointer. But Flyers came out firing, Mike Vigor connected on a lay-up inside and a jumpshot of his own.

Brandon Boggs, who would score 11 points for the half, set the tone early on by rising up and dunking hard on Eagles' defence.

The Bristol swingman then hit a triple on the next possession to allow Flyers to jump out to an early lead.

Eagles started slowly from the field as they went 8-21 for the quarter. Fortunately for the home side, Defoe couldn't miss and scored 12 points in the opening ten minutes.

Bristol continued to apply pressure offensively as Ali found the bottom of the net with a three-pointer. Greg Streete chipped in with an off the dribble jumpshot.

Flyers had done what they needed in the first, up by five on the night and three in the tie at 21-26.

Streete drove straight to the hoop and scored on Flyers' first possession of the second quarter. Eagles' Christian Behrens stopped the visitors' run by converting on an And-1 to keep the game within four points.

Vigor, on his way to nine points on 80% for the first half shooting, countered with a successful And-1 of his own. Flyers were clicking on all cylinders, even going perfect from the free-throw line for the first half.

Bristol were taking the home crowd out of the game with their continued success on the offensive end. Though as the half time break beckoned, Flyers began to cool off from the field and Eagles took advantage with back-to-back three-pointers from Orlan Jackman.

Newcastle weren't done either, as Deondre Parks scored five swift points to give the home team a slender lead. Rahmon Fletcher then attacked the basket but Boggs blocked the Eagles' point guard's attempt, which led to an Aaron Cosby fastbreak lay-up.

At the half, 46-47.

Defoe began the second half by scoring early and putting Eagles back in the lead. Bristol replied with a bucket before Fletcher was fouled in the act of shooting and scored both free-throws.

In an attempt to re-claim the lead Flyers attacked the basket, but Fab Flournoy blocked back-to-back shots to turn away Bristol's efforts. Newcastle stepped it up defensively making it difficult for the visitors to score and the home side took advantage of this by executing in the half court.

Eagles had a strong third quarter but the game was still tight as Flyers refused to let the contest get out of reach. Martin looked to give the home side a double-digit aggregate lead with a three-pointer, but Boggs responded with a triple.

Ali followed this by carving up Eagles' defence and converting the And-1. Flyers' point guard cut the game to 65-67 with a transition three-pointer.

As the contest entered into its final period, neither team had established control. Newcastle led by two points on the night, giving them an aggregate five point lead with ten minutes remaining.

Cosby scored from straight away to tie the game, but fittingly Defoe kept Flyers at bay by scoring again Eagles then ran out on a fastbreak looking to score but Daniel Edozie somehow block the shot in an extremely athletic defensive play.

Newcastle then strung together multiple field goals to build a nine-point lead, giving them a 13-point aggregate advantage forcing Coach K to call for time.

Bristol came out looking to drive at the Newcastle defence and it worked, they converted on five straight free-throws. Cosby then added a step back, Flyers down by a single possession.

Bristol brought the game within one when Ali found Boggs for another slam dunk. Ali followed it with a jumpshot to give Bristol the one point lead, and closed the aggregate score to just two.

Bristol put up a fantastic defensive possession forcing a 24-second shot clock violation. Flyers were unable to score on their next attempt and Eagles punished them with an easy lay-up inside by Flournoy.

Due to the aggregate score, Bristol had to foul to speed up Newcastle's possession. Ultimately, Eagles closed the game out from the line and advanced to the semi finals, 84-82 and 181-176 on aggregate.

The final buzzer sounded to signify the end of the game and with it the end of Bristol's season. Like so many other teams this season, they failed to beat Eagles in Newcastle.

In a truly competitive Play-Off match up, Eagles' talent was all too much and Flyers season concludes in a heartbreaking loss.


RSG Player Of The Game: Hameed Ali

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Game Leaders

Points: Darius Defoe - 26
Assists: Rahmon Fletcher - 9
Rebounds: Fab Flournoy - 13 

Box Score: