Phelps' calibre too high for Bullets

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The Independent Online
Birmingham Bullets knew what to expect from Rob Phelps this time, but still failed to stop the 6ft 5in New Yorker stealing the game for the third time this season for Newcastle Eagles, who won their Budweiser League meeting 79-78 at Newcastle Arena.

Phelps arrived in the North-east six weeks ago and scored 33 points on his debut the next night as Newcastle beat Birmingham 83-77. Six nights later Phelps spearheaded Newcastle's 99-93 National Cup quarter-final win over the Bullets.

On Saturday night he scored Newcastle's last seven points, including a three-pointer on the buzzer to win the game. Five seconds earlier Birmingham's Lynn Tryon had missed a free-throw which would have been enough to force overtime. Phelps finished with 19 points as the Eagles won their fourth league game out of the last five to climb to joint-fifth in the table.

League champions London Towers, fielding just two Americans in the absence of Joe Hooks outlasted Leicester City Riders 102-96 at the Granby Halls to catch Sheffield Sharks, who have a free weekend, at the top of the table. London's Danny Lewis topped all Saturday night's scorers with 31 points.

Hemel and Watford Royals lost their 20th straight game since the first day of the season with a 100-67 home defeat against Manchester Giants. Chester Jets coach Mike Burton hoped to be top of the table for Christmas with a double win weekend, but his plans were dashed by Saturday night's 75-70 defeat at Derby Storm, despite a 10-0 run giving them a 70-69 lead.