Basketball: Walker helps Newcastle keep pace with leaders

Newcastle Eagles maintained the pressure on British Basketball League leaders Scottish Rocks with an 86-79 win over Brighton Bears at the Metro FM Arena last night.

The Bears were punished by Andrew Bridge who scored six points in a 7-0 run which opened a 24-27 lead. The Eagles, led by 24 points from T J Walker, then hit a 15-5 spurt in the second quarter and led 57-33 at half-time. They were moving comfortably to a win which leaves them two points behind the second-placed Leicester Riders and four behind leaders Rocks, with two games in hand over both, before the Bears threatened their control.

Jerry Williams, a former BBL most valuable player in Sheffield Sharks' Championship-winning team, hit six points and then added two three-pointers in a 14-2 Bears run which cut the Eagles lead to 59-47. Williams led Bears scorers with 27 points and spearheaded another Bears' riposte as they cut Eagles lead to 80-74. But the England international Andrew Sullivan, who scored 22 points, steadied the Eagles with four-from-four free-throws as Newcastle closed out the win from the foul line.

Tomorrow Leicester will try to keep up the pressure on Rocks with a visit to Sheffield Sharks, seeking their third victory over the Yorkshire club this season, while Brighton will cross the border to face the Rocks in Glasgow.