Basketball: Sullivan becomes dominant force as Eagles soar into final against Jets

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The Independent Online

Sheffield Sharks' coach Peter Scantlebury expects Andrew Sullivan to be a key factor in his England team-building plans this summer, but on Saturday night the 6ft5in Newcastle Eagles' forward was pivotal in knocking the holders out of the BBL Play-off semi-finals at Birmingham's NIA.

Sheffield Sharks' coach Peter Scantlebury expects Andrew Sullivan to be a key factor in his England team-building plans this summer, but on Saturday night the 6ft5in Newcastle Eagles' forward was pivotal in knocking the holders out of the BBL Play-off semi-finals at Birmingham's NIA.

Sullivan scored 23 points and took eight rebounds in the 75-65 win over the Sharks and used his strength and athleticism to close down Sharks' leading scorer Nate Reinking as the American tried to spark a revival.

The Eagles, league runners-up, earned the right to face champions Chester Jets in last night's scheduled final after they edged Scottish Rocks 74-72, scoring nine of the game's last 11 points. Donald Cole and Tony Windless, playing for the first time in 10 games after damaging an eye socket, both missed chances to save the game.

The Eagles have won 24 games out of 29 since January, a run which included their first silverware for 14 years, the BBL Trophy.

Sullivan said: "Our group of guys hadn't been to a final together before we played in the Trophy and their coach Nick Nurse said he felt Brighton had the upper hand because of it. We went down there and played together and we all know what happened in that game".

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