Newcastle Eagles down undefeated Bristol Flyers grabbing first win of the season
David Cohn’s perfect shooting night helped Marc Steutel claim his first league win as a BBL coach.
Although star guard Javion Hamlet had a quieter than usual night, Cohn and Jermel Kennedy proved impossible to guard allowing Hamlet 15 points.
Steutel and great friend and Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas shared the court again, but as rivals and not as assistant coaches for Great Britain. They will share the court again on November 11 on the same bench as Great Britain will look to down a Nikola Jokic lead Serbian team in European qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup at Vertu Motors Arena.
The Newcastle Eagles acquired two new signings. Kyle Johnson’s signing was announced a day before tip-off and Denzel Ubiario was announced mere hours before tip-off.
Both were played by coach Steutel during their home victory.
Hamlet stepped on the court with old teammates Thomas Bell III and Mike Miller for the first time since they played at North Texas, but as opponents instead of teammates.
Leading up to the Game Hamlet said: “I look forward to every game and not just going up against them but it’s going to be fun to play against them.
“But I’m just looking forward to every game trying to win and do big things in Newcastle. I haven’t talked with them but I will after the game.”
Brandon Mahan, 3 points, and Miller, 7 points, were both kept under their scoring averages against a strong and motivated Newcastle Eagles defense.
The Newcastle Eagles started the game strong allowing the Bristol Flyers an early two point lead, but did not falter the lead or allow Bristol Flyers to extend or regain the lead after tying the game at 2-2.
Cohn entered the first quarter with 7:57 left after Donovan Johnson picked up two quick fouls. He finished out the quarter with five points and three assists
Ben Mockford, Cohn and Hamlet combined for 14 of the teams 23 points in the quarter.
The Flyers finished the first quarter with nine second chance opportunities, six of which came from poor Eagles boxouts.
The Eagles defense allowed 16 points in the paint, but kept the Flyers at bay only allowing three points outside the paint.
Steutel’s team played through the first quarter without dropping lead, finishing the quarter with a 23-19 lead.
Throughout the second quarter the Eagles continued their dominance with Cohn scoring another six points and Hamlet seven points.
Cohn proved to Steutel his worth after providing five assists and two steals before the half.
Vincent King, Malcolm Delpeche, Jelani Watson-Gayle and Bell carried the Flyers during the first half combining for 31 of their 40 points at the half.
Although the Flyers were persistent, the Eagles proved to be relentless extending the four point lead after the first quarter to eight point 48-40 lead after the first half.
The common third quarter woes for the Eagles worried the home crowd at Vertu Motors Arena.
Early shooting troubles and preventable turnovers saw the Flyers fight back and reduce the deficit to one after Mahan converted an and-one.
Kennedy and Mockford fought through the diversity hitting back-to-back threes in the same corner causing a Flyers timeout with 1:43 remaining in the third quarter after the hosts saw their lead extend to nine.
King and Delpeche controlled the Flyers attack finishing the quarter with 14 points each.
The Flyers efforts to make up a lead after their nine point run was cut short after benefitting on only four second chance points and five fast break points in the quarter.
Kapoulas’ team continued to push until the final moments, clawing themselves back and cutting the Eagles lead to five.
Kennedy and Cohn continued to shine through the fourth quarter finishing with 17 and 20, while Cohn added nine total assists.
Donovan Johnson had a big involvement boosting the teams energy and the fan spirit before fouling out after receiving a technical foul with 2:50 left in the game. Johnson played just shy of 13 minutes and finished with seven points.
The hosts not only saw one, but two posters from fan-favorite Duke Shelton in the final quarter. With the second bringing home the exclamation mark over Delpeche which showcased a win worthy performance by Steutel’s reenergized and revamped team.
After tallying 52 points in the paint and causing 18 Eagle turnovers, the Flyers were outplayed by the leagues most decorative team.
The Bristol Flyers will look to rebound as they continue their road trip at Cheshire Oaks Arena against the Cheshire Phoenix.
The Tyne and Wear team will look to feed off the winning momentum as they seek revenge against the Sheffield Sharks. They travel back to Ponds Forge International Sports Centre for their second fixture at the venue in nine days.