After an incredible December run, the Plymouth Raiders were brought crashing down to earth by the Newcastle Eagles last weekend at the Pavilions. The 83-91 defeat was a crushing blow to the Raiders who had gone unbeaten in the previous month. Head Coach Paul James, magnanimous in his post-match interview, immediately refocused his attention towards the upcoming rematch.
“The right team won in the end, it’s going to be a little bit of a battle when we go back up there on Friday… We are a team that can compete with the best in the league.”
Newcastle are, undoubtedly, one of the best in the league. The Tyne and Wear side are third in the table with two games in hand over their second-place rivals, Sheffield Sharks.
Rahmon Fletcher and Victor Moses have been pivotal in the Eagles’ success this season. Oozing with poise and consistency, this duo feature heavily throughout the league leaders stat board. Fletcher tops the league with 9.21 assists per game, combine that with Moses’ average of 18.21 points per game and it is clear to see why the Eagles are soaring so high in the BBL rankings.
Not to be outdone, your Plymouth Raiders are the only side to have two players feature in the top ten of average assists per game. Donte Nicholas and Josh Wilcher, who are placed third and fourth respectively, have been sensational all season and will look to continue their good form on Friday evening.
Raiders forward, Rashad Hassan, is second in the league for average points scored, boasting an imposing 20.88 per game. Newcastle will be more than aware of Hassan’s productivity as he posted 24 points against them in the reverse fixture last weekend. This three-peat Raiders attack has more than enough firepower to ground the high-flying Eagles and Newcastle will have to be at their very best if they are to subdue this potent offense.
If aren’t able to make the trip up north then don’t panic just yet! In a testament to the sport’s growing influence in this country, BBC Sport will be airing the game online from 19:25. Head to the BBC Sport website for more details on how to tune in.
Let’s go Raiders!