MATCH REPORT: Debutant Keeling performance among positives as Rocks fall to top of table Eagles

Report: Glasgow Rocks 93 Newcastle Eagles 105

By Craig Anderson

A stirring 26-point debut from Christian Keeling helped deliver some good positives for Glasgow Rocks, but the outcome remained the same as they went down to league leaders Newcastle Eagles.

This post-Christmas contest was keenly anticipated because of the arrival of the two new faces, Keeling and Ronald Delph and despite being on the losing side again, there’s something to work from for coach Gareth Murray.

Ronald Delph was unable to play as he is still awaiting FIBA clearance, with Marc Kwedi still sitting out due to a lower-body injury.

There was only one point in the game after the first quarter as both sets of players looked to make an early mark in this BBL game, with Boban Jacdonmi picking up Glasgow’s first eight points of the game.

Keeling made his presence felt with a two-point hook shot with five minutes to go of the first to open a three-point lead, at 16-13 then added another two shortly to firmly get off the mark for his new team.

By the end, Rocks edged it 24-23 and with Murray, Jonny Bunyan and David Mpondo all contributing, the outlook looked good for the home side after the opening ten.

Darius Defoe picked up a couple seconds after the restart as Newcastle looked for an early reaction before both teams traded points for the first couple of minutes.

An Eddie Matthew three-pointer put Eagles in front, quickly added to by Evan Maxwell followed by Justin Gordon as Newcastle went six ahead at 28-34.

Murray finished off a couple of free throws to keep Glasgow in touch, but the visitors were doing better in completing their chances and opened up a 10-point gap.

Keeling led something of a mini revival, but Newcastle stayed that little step ahead and were 11 points in front as both teams came in at half time.

The dreaded third quarter came and it was a period that hadn’t been kind to the Rocks in recent games, often seeing some form of collapse.

It wasn’t to be in this case and although Rocks remained 12 points behind, some crucial scoring kept them in the game, with Keeling impressing with 10 of his own and his addition really added some freshness to the team.

Eagles were looking good for their fifth win on the spin after a decent start to the season and knew Glasgow wouldn’t go away quietly as they approached the fourth quarter.

Louis Sayers picked up five early points to keep them ahead further into the early minutes, but Rocks were hanging on as Keeling and Murray added ten points between to keep the home team to within 11 points.

As time went on, it was starting to look beyond them and while Murray and Bunyan weighed in with three point efforts, they just couldn’t claw anything back on the deficit as Eagles held Glasgow off to take the victory.

It was a decent tally of points and the first time Rocks picked up 90+ points in a game since the opening day BBL Cup win over Cheshire Phoenix. Good news when you see who’s next on the fixture list.

Detailed match stats HERE.