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Basketball: On guard for Riders return; Jackson relishes reunion after Thunder rumbled.

Byline: By PAUL NILSEN

Newcastle Eagles 98

Worthing Thunder 64

LIVEWIRE guard Reggie 'Action' Jackson is relishing a return to the place where his rookie professional season truly took off as the Eagles look to complete a weekend win double at Leicester.

After humiliating a pathetically inept Worthing Thunder at the Arena last night, Newcastle face an in-form Riders team with Jackson fondly remembering that last visit to the city.

It was a night back in December when Fab Flournoy made the bold decision to finally hand over the reigns of responsibility to him in a move which has paid significant dividends ever since.

Jackson said: "I remember the last time played against Leicester because both I and Tafari (Toney) played a lot of minutes and we picked up a great win.

"Things have gone well for both of us since then, and I hope we can claim the same kind of victory as we are really trying to push hard now.

"It will be a tough game for sure, but we know what we have to do.

"It is always good to go back to play somewhere where you have happy memories of playing."

If anyone thought the Eagles might have taken things easy against Worthing in preparation for the Riders game they were mistaken - with a 26-6 third quarter in particular underlining their brutal onslaught.

Jackson added: "We maintained our intensity for all of the game and Fab will not let us lose that.

"We spoke about keeping our focus at half-time, and that is why we produced a big third quarter.

"It is never difficult to keep your motivation in this team, and we showed that again because even when we had a big lead we kept the pressure on them.

"Intensity is what we do pretty well and when we have it I think we show we are a good team."

It was an explosive nine points inside the first four minutes by Tafari Toney which set the home team on their way.

With Trey Moore giving a backcourt master class with a stunning six assists in the period, the Eagles led 24-18.

Struggling Worthing always looked vulnerable to being blown out, and only Janis Ivanovskis kept them in the contest with two thirds of his team's points in the opening period.

The Eagles further exposed the frailties of the Thunder by quickly establishing a double-figure lead at 35-24 - and then cranking up the defensive pressure to give themselves a healthy 53-34 half-time advantage.

After a blistering start to the second half by the Eagles, they embarrassingly showed the gulf in class by more than doubling the score at 79-37 as Charles Smith made 10 points in a row.

Thunder, meanwhile, managed just six points in the entire period, and even that included a last second three-pointer which doubled their tally for the previous nine minutes and 59 seconds.

Thankfully this exercise in futility was livened up by the introduction of the young Eagles bench.

Glen, Attah and McCotter all made triples before attention quickly turned towards a much tougher game at Leicester. NEWCASTLE EAGLES: Smith 19, Bridge 14, Toney 14. WORTHING THUNDER: lvanovskis 19, Mbye 17.

EVERTON Tigers put their run of three straight losses behind them in emphatic style as they recorded the fifth biggest win in the history of the BBL Championship with a 126-60 triumph over PAWS London Capital.

James Jones scored a career-high 31 points, including nine three-pointers, while former Newcastle Eagles favourite Olu Babalola scored 25 for the Tigers.

Sheffield Sharks defeated Scottish Rocks 79-70, James Whyte perfect with four three-point efforts on his way to 15 points for the victors.

CAPTION(S):

JACKSON; COURT IN THE ACTION: Newcastle Eagles' Charles Smith during last night's comprehensive win over Worthing Thunder PICTURE: IAIN BUIST
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 7, 2009
Words:633
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