Basketball: Robinson fires Eagles' take-off

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Newcastle Eagles' defence of their British Basketball League title finally took off last night after losing their first two games of the season, when they steamrollered Plymouth Raiders to a 95-81 defeat.

Jeremy Hyatt, who was released by the Eagles last season after he was convicted of motoring offences, rejoins them on Tuesday to bolster a team suffering from the loss of the Great Britain international Andrew Sullivan. He now plays in Spain after being named the BBL's Most Valuable Player last season.

But the reshaped Eagles overpowered the Raiders 38-21 in the first quarter and stretched their lead to 64-35 at half-time. Shawan Robinson led Eagles with 24 points, though Plymouth's Andrew Lasker led all the scorers with 26.

Milton Keynes Lions, the unlikely early leaders, have been unseated by even unlikelier pace-setters, London United, who moved into top spot on Saturday night with their third straight win, by 83-73 at fellow-newcomers Worcester Wolves.

United and Worcester both stepped up from the English Basketball League in the summer.

Phillip Perre led London with 24 points as United closed the first half with a 13-4 run to lead46-44 and they did not trail again. Andy Harper kept Wolves in touch with a three-pointer but Worcester lost his long-range threat due to an ankle injury and United secured the win from the free throw line. Harper led the Wolves with 19 points.