NEWCASTLE Eagles remain firmly in the box seat in the BBL title race after a majestic 39 points from sharpshooter Joe Chapman helped fire them to victory in a classic encounter with fellow challengers Worcester Wolves.
With the Eagles’ only league loss of the campaign having come at the hands of the Wolves back in December, it had looked for long periods on Saturday night that they might fall victim to their BBL Championship rivals once again.
But, in an absorbing and pulsating encounter which was a terrific advert for British basketball, Eagles coach Fab Flournoy and his players showed remarkable levels of resilience as the firepower of Chapman and a game-winning shot by 28-point Charles Smith helped record a superb 102-100 success.
A three-pointer from Chapman had given the Eagles the lead at 95-98 with just over 90 seconds remaining and it looked like they might ease clear, but the game then became tied 100-100 with 25 seconds left in a thrilling finale.
Both sides had opportunities to win the game, but a Smith basket with 11 seconds to go gave the Eagles a 100-102 lead.
However the job wasn’t quite done and they had to nervously hold their breath as Wolves forward Tommy Freeman launched a last ditch three-point attempt with four seconds remaining in a bid to snatch the win away from them.