Javion Hamlet’s 29 points not enough as Newcastle Eagles drop to third straight defeat
League leading title contenders London Lions cruised past the Eagles after a strong Sam Dekker performance.
A turnover-induced second half from the Eagles guided the Lions on a 21-8 run in the third quarter. The Lions proceeded to outscore the hosts by eight to end the third quarter.
After the Lions extended their lead to 11, they never saw their lead diminish to under 10 points throughout the remaining quarter and a half.
The Eagles showed promise through Hamlet, shooting 10-15 on the floor and going 9-11 at the free-throw line.
Marc Steutel’s team was left short again, only dressing nine players for the second home game of the season.
Before tip-off the Eagles announced their new signing Donovan Johnson who comes back to the BBL after a season with Bordeaux in France. This comes a day after they announced signing Sam Mamuini to the first team from the Eagles Academy.
Lesley Varner was a key contributor for the Eagles in the first two and a half minutes but only had one rebound and two points to show for his effort because of foul trouble.
Hamlet played a large roll as well for the eagles grabbing 10 points after one quarter.
The Lions responded to Hamlet and the Eagles’ strong start, the 6’7 Czech center Vojtech Hruban had a 6-2-1 stat line when substituted out with two minutes left in the first quarter.
The second quarter was tightly contested as the Eagles managed their largest lead of the game after the 19-year Eagles veteran Darius Defoe’s jump shot extending their lead to 37-32.
The Lions took off on a 9-3 run to end the first half with a one point lead which left a packed Vertu Motors Arena to get behind their team to inspire an encouraging second half.
The hosts struggled to start the second half, poor passing, ball handling and a travel violation gifted the Lions a quick seven points off turnovers, which they fed off of finishing the game with 30 points off Eagles turnovers.
The fourth quarter proved routine for the Lions, they kept the Eagles at bay having played their bench throughout the fourth quarter. The visitors finished with 33 bench points, as their opponents only managed 13 from their deprived bench.
Dekker’s 15-7-3 led James Vear’s league leading team to their fourth straight victory. The Lions and Bristol Flyers are they only two undefeated teams left in the BBL.
A deeper Eagles team will look to record their first win of the season against the Sheffield Sharks on Friday night at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre while the Lions look to extend their win streak to five games against Surrey Scorchers at Surrey Sports Park on Saturday.