London City Royals coach Jay Williams has called for his men to hammer Newcastle Eagles into the ground in a no-nonsense bid for revenge on Saturday.
The Crystal Palace-based side suffered a 50-point drubbing in the north-east last month when Williams readily admitted the Eagles “handed it to us”.
But their latest British Basketball League showdown sees London’s newest pro basketball team in good nick having felt robbed of victory last time out when their date with Leicester Riders was called off because of a leaky roof with the home side 51-45 ahead inside 14 minutes of the final hooter.
A fortnight later and it’s all systems go at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, where second-placed Newcastle will arrive 24 hours after taking on league leaders London Lions.
Williams said: “We’ve got to do some damage early on and take the game to them first and fast.
“They beat us by 50 points but it actually doesn’t matter whether the margin of victory is 50 or just one point.”
The Royals will be at near full strength with only long term injury victim Ashley Hamilton (wrist) still ruled out at this stage. Shooting guards Ed Lucas and AJ Roberts and centre Will Neighbour should be able to shrug off various aches and niggles, although Williams warns: “This game is definitely in our heads and in our minds going back to when we lost to them.
“We’ve got to take it slightly personal – no one wants to get beat by 50 points and they really cut us deep at their place.”
Great Britain guard Jules Dang Akodo, signed from German outfit Fraport Skyliners, has been a terrific addition to the Royals’ roster. Williams expects the Brixton-born player to keep a good vibe going. He said: “Jules brings a lot of European experience with him and that’s going to help us a lot.”
Tomorrow’s game is a 7.30pm tip off.