Paterson's pivotal role

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The Independent Online
Basketball

Wembley holds no fears for Newcastle Eagles and, if they can continue their winning away sequence against London Towers there tomorrow, they will return for the Budweiser League play-off finals on 3 and 4 May.

The quarter-final series between League runners-up Towers and seventh- placed Eagles hangs on the decisive third game. Eagles lost twice at home in the League, but beat Towers away. Then they lost the opening quarter- final game 91-79 in Newcastle, but defeated Towers 80-70 last week at Wembley.

Scott Paterson proved his importance to the Eagles. He missed most of the first play-off game with an eye injury, but returned to lead their scorers with 23 points, including three, long-range, three-pointers.

"Scott is a pivotal piece on our chessboard," Tom Hancock, the Eagles coach, said. "Some people don't like the idea of 6ft 10in guys stepping out to shoot the three, but I do."

The Towers' coach, Kevin Cadle, just wants to make amends. "I made some mistakes in terms of personnel and defensive moves," he said, "but even so, when you had as many open shots and fast breaks as we did, you have to convert them."

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