by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will look to finish the group-stage of the BBL Cup on a high note — following consecutive defeats on the road against the Manchester Giants and Glasgow Rocks — when they’ll take on the Newcastle Eagles at the EPSV later today.
The Nix have already qualified for the Quarter-Finals of the competition, however they need to beat the Eagles in order to avoid finishing fourth in the ‘North’ group.
The Eagles obtained a 20-point win in the first meeting between the two sides, however they have already been knocked out of the competition, having only picked up one win in seven games.
Date: Sunday 24th October, 2021
Tip-off: 5:30 p.m.
Competition: BBL Cup Group Stage
How to watch: Tickets available on the door / BBL Player
EAGLES SCOUTING REPORT
The Eagles have endured a tough group-stage campaign, as they started with three losses on the trot before defeating the Phoenix 94-74 at the Vertu Motors Arena earlier this month.
Since then, the Eagles have dropped a further three games after being struck with COVID-19 issues, resulting in a number of important players and coaching staff missing the games against the Sharks, Rocks and Giants.
The Geordies are yet to pick up a win on the road.
As a team, the Eagles are currently shooting 43.1% from the floor, 29.4% from deep and 72.1% from the free-throw line.
The Eagles average 71 field-goal attempts per game, third most in the league behind the Glasgow Rocks (71.1) and Bristol Flyers (73.1).
Newcastle’s ball retention ranks fourth league-wide, as they only commit 12.3 turnovers per night.
Wesley Person Jr. leads the Eagles in scoring, with 17.4 points-per-game, while Corey Johnson (who has scored 36 & 25 in his last two games) ranks second with 16.2 points-per-game.
Johnson also ranks second in assists, with 3.4 dimes per game and leads the Geordies in steals, with 1.9 per game.
Person Jr. (15; 6th) and Johnson (17; 3rd) both rank in the top-six in three-pointers made in the BBL Cup.
The Eagles announced earlier today that they have parted company with American forward Terrell Vinson, who last played against the Manchester Giants, racking up 19 points and nine rebounds. Vinson averaged 10 points and 6.6 rebounds in seven games in the BBL Cup group-stage.
Newcastle Eagles: Corey Johnson — The Canadian guard is in scorching-hot form, having scored 61 points on 37 shots in his last two games. Despite scoring at will in the absence of Newcastle’s other stars, Johnson is yet to lead his team to a win, so he will look to pair a great individual performance with a victory on the road in the finale of the BBL Cup group-stage.
Cheshire Phoenix: Teddy Okereafor — Cheshire’s floor-general missed the trip to Newcastle on the 8th of October and it showed as the Nix succumbed to a 20-point defeat. Okereafor comes into the fixture in good form, having dropped 28 points and 11 assists on just one turnover on Friday night against the Glasgow Rocks.
Ben Thomas: “Following the results on Friday night, we’re really happy to know that we’ve got a place in the Quarter-Finals of the BBL Cup. Obviously we would’ve preferred to have won and secured it in that way but we’ve successfully qualified and tonight is just about making sure we finish in the best possible position. A win means that we finish third and that’s what we are targeting.
“We don’t know what to expect from Newcastle, obviously they’ve had a bit of a mixed team over their last two fixtures due to numerous reasons but we have been planning for them as if they will be bringing their best team so we’ve got to have a great performance to obtain a good team win.”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix are next in action at the EPSV against the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship opener on the 31st of October, with tip-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.