A depleted Raiders squad failed to win on the road in Newcastle on Friday night, coming away with 104 – 79 defeat.
With the injured Will Neighbour missing along with Denzel Ubiaro and Steve Gordon, the team of eight hoped to continue their run of wins against the Eagles but struggled early on, with the home side scoring freely in a 32 – 16 opening period. Raiders put on a better offensive display in the second quarter with guard Eric Eaves leading the way, scoring 14 of his 19 points but the Eagles held a healthy 60 – 40 half time lead.
The team regrouped at half time and Eaves opened the scoring for the visitors before a three minute scoring drought allowed the home side to stretch the lead to 24. Six points apiece from captain Zak Wells and American Tre Bowman helped the team close the gap to 15 but a couple of baskets for the home side in the last 30 seconds saw them hold a 81 – 62 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Besides a single free throw from Eaves, Raiders failed to score in the opening two minutes of the final period before a time out from Coach Love stopped the draught, but at this point the home side had opened up a large 25 point lead. The team continued to push hard but the Eagles who have hit the 100 point mark in 50% of their home games this season, took the win with a convincing 104 – 79 win.
Americans Bowman and Eaves led the scoring for Raiders with 20 and 19 points retrospectively, whilst Wells and Joonas Jarvelainen also hit double figures. Wells also recorded 14 rebounds to claim a double-double whilst Stefan Djukic on his return from international duty was two points short of a double-double with eight points and 13 in 17 minutes.
Raiders have a weeks practice ahead before returning to the Pavilions on Friday 16th March when they host Manchester Giants. 7:30pm tip. Tickets can be bought online for the game at www.ticketstore.co.uk.Game Stats