"If he can step off the plane and 24 hours later give me 11 points and 11 boards in 22 minutes, I'll take it," said Bullet's coach, Mike Finger, who was also given a solid debut by the 6ft 10in Mark Considine.
But it was old hands Nigel Lloyd and Clive Allen who steadied Bullets in a wildly see-sawing game in which Newcastle's Chris Fight and Corey Jackson always had the better of their defence.
Newcastle jump-started into the lead at the beginning of each half and were only outscored by Birmingham in the third quarter. Lloyd, needing 17 points to become Bullet's all-time leading scorer over Tony Dorsey, finished with 16 but included three three pointers in a third-quarter burst which broke Eagles' grip on the game.
Greg Modzelewski's three-pointer with six seconds left brought Eagles back to 84-83, and they regained possession with a second to go. Jackson could not convert Fight's lob-pass, however, and Bullets survived.
Dorsey's scoring prowess is being cramped at Manchester Giants, where John White again led their scorers with 32 in the 113-87 win at Leicester City Riders. Dorsey scored 19.
Terrell Myers scored 28 as leaders Sheffield Sharks extended their unbeaten start to seven games in a 101-79 win over the previous leaders, Derby Storm, who have lost three of their last four games.
The former England international, Richard Scantlebury, marked his recent return to the league with 28 points for Milton Keynes in their 94-75 victory at Worthing Bears. The Lions, who won only three games last season as Watford Royals, took control with a 15-2 run for a 49-31 half-time lead.
They maintained control in the second half despite losing their American, Ben Avery , who limped out of the game with ankle damage.Reuse content