Newcastle coach Fab Flournoy will be taking nothing for granted on a night when the Eagles open their new 2,800-seat arena.
“It’s not just the occasion, we also haven’t been able to train because of last-minute work on the building - so it that hasn’t been ideal,” he said.
“There’s only so much we can do - especially playing a tough, tough Plymouth team going down there and getting the win was huge for us,” said Flournoy.
The Raiders went through December undefeated, with coach Paul James and small forward Donte Nicholas being named Coach and Player of the Month respectively.
“Plymouth have always had a talented team but they’ve lacked that tough edge. But PJ [Paul James] has done that and given Plymouth an identity. To get coach and player of the month in the same month says something.”
Newcastle started with five wins, scoring 100 points or more four times, but then hit a run of just two wins in their next seven games as accommodation problems took their toll
“We didn’t train for a month - we were leaving [previous venue] Sport Central and we had difficulty getting training slots booked there,” said Flournoy.
“So we went a month without having consistent training time. We went from playing really good basketball to a four-week period when we were really just…out there together playing.
“Credit to the guys, at home we could pull some of those games out and win, but on the road we’d just die. In the third quarter, we’d be giving up a lot of points, because we hadn’t been able to work on our defensive rotations.”