Basketball: McGee makes an unhappy return

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The Independent Online
The sudden death of the Sainsbury's Classic Cola National Cup brought an unhappy return to the Granby Halls for former favourite Leon McGee on Saturday night, when his new club Newcastle Eagles were routed 94-76 by Renault Leicester Riders on their way to the last eight.

Coach Bob Donewald's pre-game propaganda fired up the home fans and players for the match and softened up the American McGee's suspect temperament.

McGee led the Eagles scorers with 20 points, but his annoyance with his new team- mates was instrumental in their downfall. Donewald said: "Leon's frustrated with this crew but he's a great player and he'll pull through."

Donewald, half jokingly, implored the home fans to boo McGee and they responded, half-heartedly, for the first half. But in the second period their jeers had a harder edge after McGee clashed mid-court with Geno Ford.

Leicester made all the major plays, hitting 10 from 15 three pointers with Gene Waldron and JaRon Boone scoring four each. Inside, only the under-used Carl Miller stood up to the massive presence of Leicester's Billy Singleton and James Havrilla.

Still, Newcastle recovered from 15 points down to trail 74-68 until McGee and the bench blew their chance. McGee was called for a charge on Havrilla and the irate Eagles bench players spilled onto the court to earn a technical foul plus possession for the Riders.

Boone scored the frees and the next basket as well, and with the impressive Ford quickly adding another Newcastle shipped six points in under 30 seconds to effectively lose the game.