Basketball: London City Royals produce big fightback to stun Newcastle Eagles

BY GEOFF SWEET

A rampant London City Royals pulled off a magnificent 67-point turnaround with a 98-81 British Basketball League win over Newcastle Eagles at the weekend.

The Royals lost by 50 points on Tyneside last month but it was a different story on Saturday. Skipper Orlan Jackman led the way with 26 points followed by Matt Bryan-Amaning (17), Will Ohuaregbe (14) and Ed Lucas (12).

MVP Jackman said: “Everyone worked hard and put in 100 per cent effort, which is the way we have to play to realise our potential.

“It was a good win. We still have a lot more work to do, but we are all looking forward to the challenge.”

The Crystal Palace National Sports Centre was rocking as Ohuaregbe capped only his second appearance since leaving Leuven in Belgium with an emphatic defensive play inter-mingled with some savage raids on the Newcastle hoop.

And with fit-again AJ Roberts also giving next to nothing away, Jackman and top scorer Bryan-Amaning ensured it was almost one-way traffic from the third quarter onwards.

The Royals scored 36 points in the third phase. In the end they showed the Eagles, who lost 96-78 at the London Lions on Friday, as Jackman also rattled up 13 rebounds against his former side.

The Royals’ fourth league win of the season, left 6ft 9ins centre Ohuaregbe in the mood for more. He is a former East London Royal, who enjoyed a successful career in France, Belgium and Germany Pro A divisions following a scholarship to the US and NCAA Division 1 basketball at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

He said: “I’m a Hackney boy finally playing in London again. This was a fantastic result in front of growing support. Most of the people I’ve not seen in years and it was great to play in front of so many friends and family.”

The Royals lost power forward Will Neighbour with an ankle injury in only the second minute, were

22-19 down after the first quarter and 44-42 behind after the second.

But then they really let rip to lead 78-64 at three-quarter time. Bryan-Amaning, now second in the BBL’s average points table with 20.71 behind Deshawn Freeman of the Worcester Wolves (22), said:

“I’d not lost by 50 many times in my career and this was a great turnaround.

“Last time we didn’t play well; we had a horrible offensive game and they hit every shot they took. They weren’t going to play like that again and this time we were fine.

“Now the team is healthy we are really beginning to show what we can do. We are one of the deepest teams in the league – we just like to keep going and wear the opposition down.  We get a winning margin and sustain it. Now we just want to keep the ball rolling.”

Influential guard Roberts: “We showed ‘we’re here’. All our players are back and now you can actually see our real team. We are setting the tone on the offensive end and our score against the Eagles proves it. No more slow stuff – we are coming out to play.”

The Royals are home to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday, December 9 (4pm).

pic by @samneter/Hoopsfix.com

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