Newcastle Eagles, who have suffered their own injury problems this season, took advantage of an understrength Chester Jets to defeat the BBL Championship's third-placed team 88-79 at the Telewest Arena last night.
Chester face losing more ground in their bid to keep up with the leading pair, Sheffield Sharks and Brighton Bears, as their club captain, John McCord, is likely to be missing for at least another two weeks following knee surgery. Nevertheless, they led 71-68 last night until the first of two bursts from the Eagles.
An 8-0 run gave them the lead at 76-71, then after the Jets scored three points in quick reply, the Eagles' T J Walker, five points, and four from Shawn Myers inspired a 12-1 run to put Newcastle an unassailable 13 points ahead with barely one minute on the clock.
Myers, 30 points, and Jeremy Hyatt, 22 points, who both missed gamed before Christmas through injury, led the Eagles' scorers ahead of 21 from Walker. Billy Singleton, 19 points, and Ryan Huntley with 17 led the resistance from the Jets.
Birmingham Sports Centre could be the "last chance saloon" for the beleagured Steve Tucker's only win of the season tonight when the hapless Bullets' coach tries to end a run of 21 losses.
Bullets could hardly hope for friendlier opposition than Leicester Riders, who have only three BBL wins and have lost all previous 18 visits to Birmingham in the last 17 years.
The week began with the Bullets' owner, Craig Bown, suggesting that the American Tucker should stand down as coach. Bown said: "If he feels he can't do the job it's his judgment and he can offer his notice."
Tucker's response was to suspend the experienced playmaker Rob Paternostro, who many of Bullets' dwindling band of fans wanted to see take over as coach last summer.Reuse content