JHP_9463Giants 81 (11, 34, 55) Okoro 25, Jones 13, Bankevics 12

Eagles 115 (26, 51, 85) Smith 23, Fletcher 22, Martin/Lasker 16

It is never easy against the Newacstle Eagles – and so it proved again as the title-chasers from the north east eased to victory at the Sportsdome.

Jerelle Okoro put up a good fight with a gutsy display and a game-high 25 points.

But veteran Charles Smith led the way for the visitors with 23 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists having started the game in the absence of Andy Thomson.

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And Rahmon Fletcher netted 22 points and dished out nine assists with Scott Martin and Drew Lasker adding 16 points apiece.

The Eagles stated their intentions early on and held the Giants to 11 points in the first quarter after making a 22-5 start to the game.

Manchester hit back in the second and doubled their tally, but still found themselves down 17 at the half.

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Fletcher scored 10 points in the opening four minutes of the third as Newcastle increased their lead to 30 points, which would remain the differential heading into the final quarter.