by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will look to bounce back from their defeat against the Leicester Riders when they’ll host the Newcastle Eagles for the final time in the 2020/21 regular season.
The Eagles clinched the season series against the Nix back in February. They would sweep Ben Thomas’ team with another victory tonight.
The Geordies have picked up just two victories in their last five games, however they’ll be brimming with confidence following their blowout victory against the London Lions on Friday night.
Date: Sunday 28th March, 2021
Tip-off: 5 p.m.
Competition: BBL Championship
How to watch: BBL Player
The BBL Player is the new one-stop-shop for all BBL action as you can watch every club and every game (excluding Bristol’s home games) live and on-demand for £19.99 per month. Alternatively, single-game passes are priced at £4.99.
Because of how the BBL is structured, all the money from the BBL Player goes directly to the clubs, so make sure to select the Cheshire Phoenix as your ‘club to support’ when registering, as all the revenue will help carry the club through this incredibly difficult period of financial insecurity.
EAGLES SCOUTING REPORT
The Eagles have a 21-11 record in all competitions.
Ian MacLeod’s team boasts an 11-5 record on the road, in all competitions.
The Eagles are second in the BBL Championship, with a 13-8 record.
Newcastle defeated Cheshire 85-84 at the EPSV on December 20th and 80-73 at the Vertu Motors Arena on February 26th.
The Geordies have the third best offense (85.4 points-per-game) in the BBL, however they allow opponents to score 84.1 points-per-game, which means their defence ranks just eighth.
Newcastle is shooting 46.3% from the field (4th best), 31.7% from three-point range (6th best) and 74.7% from the free-throw line (3rd best).
The Eagles are averaging 23.8 assists-per-game, the most in the BBL. They also rank first in steals-per-game, with 8.6.
MacLeod’s side averages the second most turnovers (14.6 per contest). Opponents average 36.9 rebounds-per-game against the Eagles, which is the third most in the BBL.
Rahmon Fletcher (17.7), Justin Gordon (16.1), Cortez Edwards (15) and Evan Maxwell (14.4) are all averaging double-figure points in the regular season.
Former Nix sharpshooter Louis Sayers is averaging 8.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists for the Eagles.
Fletcher leads the league in points (17.7) and assists (9.7) per game.
Edwards recorded a triple-double in Newcastle’s last fixture against London (10 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists). He leads the league in steals-per-game (2.6).
Gordon has finished with double-digit points on 12 occasions (15 games played) in the regular season.
Maxwell is averaging 14.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his first season in the BBL.
The Eagles have triumphed in three of the last five encounters against the Nix.
Newcastle Eagles: Evan Maxwell — The 6-foot-10 centre is having a great year so far, as he’s averaging 14.4 points and 6.8 rebounds on 49.6% shooting from the floor. Maxwell accumulated 43 points on 16-of-26 shooting in his first two games against the Nix.
Cheshire Phoenix: Jalen Hayes — Phoenix’s captain will have to set the tone and lead by example against the Geordies. Hayes recorded a double-double against the Eagles on February 26th, however the Nix will need more than 10 points from their star forward tonight.
Ben Thomas: “We’re looking to bounce back after our game on Wednesday night! We face an Eagles side who had a great game on Friday night so we know they are coming into this game full of confidence.
“Newcastle is only one of two teams who we haven’t beat this season and this could be the last time we play them, we’re going for that win today.
“It’s going to be very tough but if we work hard defensively and make good decisions on the offensive end then I know we can get a good result.”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix will be back in action at the EPSV on Sunday 18th of April, against the Plymouth Raiders in the BBL Championship. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.