Newcastle Eagles suffered just their second loss of the season when they went down 112-103 to the Worcester Wolves at Sport Central on Friday.
The hosts led by five points at half-time after some fine shooting by Rahmon Fletcher, who finished with 34 personal, and Deondre Parks.
Worcester notched up 30 points during a one-sided third quarter and didn’t look back from there, despite a late spur from the hosts.
Newcastle remain top despite the loss, but have now lost one more than their title-rivals, the Leicester Riders, who they face at the end of February.
They came into the game top of the BBL Championship and off the back of winning their third-successive BBL Cup, and started quickly.
Scott Martin opened the scoring up with a brilliant three-pointer, and the hosts led 19-10 midway through the first quarter after Fletcher scored five straight points.
Maurice Walker and Danny Huffor were single-handedly keeping the visitors within touching distance and the gap was at one after the first 10 minutes.
It was a slow start to the second quarter by both teams, and the game was tied at 33 before the Eagles turned the screw and closed out strongly.
Fletcher continued his scoring run and the hosts had a 52-47 advantage going into half-time.
The Wolves came out all guns blazing and went ahead for the first time on the night thanks to a brilliant three from Marek Klassen.
Worcester scored eight unanswered points before Drew Lasker hit a three-pointer, but the visitors stretched the gap and led by 11 going into the final quarter.
The Eagles were drying up on the offensive side of the ball and the Wolves punished them by going up by 18-points.
It was some finish to the game, with the hosts being spurred on by a rapturous Sport Central crowd, and Newcastle didn’t give up.
They managed to pull within seven of their opponents, but the task proved to be too much and Worcester ended up winning the game by a margin of nine.