BBL Trophy Final: Eagles expect Riders to be fired up - Flournoy

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No thought of clean sweep - Flournoy
BBL Trophy Final
Venue: Emirates Arena, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 22 March Tip-off: 15:30 GMT

Newcastle Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy says Sunday's BBL Trophy final is a chance for Leicester Riders to make a "statement" against his side.

Eagles have won 19 trophies under Flournoy's stewardship and have already won the BBL Cup during a 14-game unbeaten run this season.

Riders are on a similarly good run and have lost just twice since November - on both occasions to the Eagles.

"They probably feel they've been in our shadow all season," Flournoy said.

"This is a statement game for their coach and players. Rightly it should be, I'm not taking anything away from them.

"They're on an unbelievable run themselves. They're calm and focused and no doubt want it as much as we want it."

Despite Newcastle's haul of trophies in the BBL, Leicester have proved a thorn in their side in finals with the Riders handing them consecutive BBL Cup defeats .

The Eagles' last four knock-out finals, before the cup win against Glasgow earlier this season, had ended in defeat, despite finishing top of the regular season table as the most consistent league team.

"We're on an unbelievable run but it means nothing in a one-off game," Flournoy added.

"Our opponents are not thinking about the run or the rhythm, they're thinking about the opportunity.

"Thinking about your rhythm and playing well can work against you. We're treating it as a mission."

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Riders duo relish Eagles challenge

Riders coach Rob Paternostro said there was "a buzz in the room" to be facing the league's best side.

"We are playing good basketball right now so we are confident in the way we are playing," he told BBC Radio Leicester.

"The two games we have played against them they have been better than us, there's no question about that. But I don't think we are the only team that can say that about playing them.

"They have only lost one game and are a great team, but we feel we have an opportunity to enjoy the occasion. There is a buzz in the room.

"When you play in the big games, the fun part is the anticipation. All our guys are excited and looking forward to it and they deserve to be - they did a great job to get here.

"We are focused on our opponents and know, in order to win, we will have to play really well."

Riders point guard Neil Watson told BBC Radio Leicester the final was a game to savour.

"There is a lot on the table and a lot to look forward to - and after as well," Watson said. "It will be a big game because of the teams and the rivalry."

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