Newcastle Eagles cemented their place at the top of the league going into 2013 after signing off the year on a high; defeating Manchester at home.
Last season’s MVP Joe Chapman top scored in the 88-67 success with 20 points as a strong second half display gave Newcastle a four point cushion over Leicester at the half-way stage of the season.
The visiting Giants made a bright start and opened up a 17-6 advantage early on before seeing their lead cut to two points at the end of the first as Newcastle closed with an 11-2 run.
Damon Huffman and David Watts traded triples in the middle of the second quarter as the game remained in the balance. Huffman found the net from long range once more along with Chapman, as their scores were either side of a Stuart Thomson dunk, to make it 41-38 in favour of the hosts at the half.
Newcastle used another 11-2 run to assert their authority in the third and take a commanding 65-50 lead into the final quarter. The fourth proved comfortable for the Eagles and Fab Flournoy was able to run his bench with Eddie Matthew scoring five points late on as the lead passed 20 points.
Glasgow had a mixed weekend on the road as they were beaten by Worcester a day after a win over the London Lions.
The Scottish side were victorious in the capital as they outscored their opponents 21-12 in the final quarter to instigate an 88-78 win. Donald Robinson led the Rocks with a game-high 25 points while Tayo Ogedengbe had 24 for the Lions.
24 hours later in Worcester, Gareth Murray top scored with 16 points but Kai Williams led the Wolves to an 83-70 success with a 21 point haul. A strong second quarter helped propel Worcester to the two points which moved them into fifth place.
Just ahead of Paul James’ men are the Plymouth Raiders, who strengthened their place in the top four with a crushing 103-65 win over the winless Mersey Tigers. Michael Ojo had an impressive night with 34 points containing five triples from eight attempts.
Durham and Surrey recorded home victories,on Sunday, in hard-fought games with London and Sheffield respectively. The Wildcats claimed their fourth win of the season while Creon Raftopoulos’ Heat side closed within two points of second place.
Durham were trailing by as many as 13 points with five minutes remaining before battling back to send the game into overtime as Brad Guinane fired in a triple in the final minute. Adrien Sturt gave the visitors a lead momentarily in the extra period but a three pointer from Ralph Bucci put the home side ahead and they went on to win 95-92.
Mike Baldarelli top scored with 25 points while Mike Martin led the Lions with 20 points as his side suffered a double blow over the weekend.
The game went to the wire in Guildford as well with Surrey, down three with a minute to go, recovering to win 84-82. Sheffield led by five at half-time but were unable to hold on as Sam Cricelli gave the hosts the lead for the final time with 29 seconds remaining to finish with 23 points.
Here is the table for over the Christmas period before action returns on the 28th December:
Newcastle Eagles 14-2 (28pts); Leicester Riders 12-2 (24pts); Surrey Heat 11-3 (22pts); Plymouth Raiders 10-5 (20pts); Worcester Wolves 9-7 (18pts); Glasgow Rocks 8-7 (16pts); Cheshire Phoenix 7-9 (14pts); London Lions 7-10 (14pts); Sheffield Sharks 5-10 (10pts); Manchester Giants 5-11 (10pts); Durham Wildcats 4-11 (8pts); Mersey Tigers 0-15 (0pts)