Traditionally, these are two of the BBL’s strongest teams and that has certainly been the case this year as both hold league best 8-2 records.

Eagles come into the game following an overtime win over Worcester Wolves while Sharks also needed an extra period to see off Manchester Giants.

But form matters little in cup competitions, and Flournoy expects a tense opening encounter.

“They are a really smart team and look to be extremely well coached from what I have seen of them,” he said.

“As with all two-leg basketball the first game may be something of a feeling out exercise.”

Sharks forward Mike Tuck (pictured) will be feeling good after he was named in the BBL Team of the Week for a fourth time on Monday.

Eagles have been reminded of Tuck’s talent time and time again but know they cannot concentrate on him alone, as coach Atiba Lyons has built a balanced roster.

Flournoy added: “We as a team, and me personally, have had numerous battles with Mike Tuck over the years.

“He is a smart, talented, hardworking blue collar player and a guy you can build a team around.

“But we would never focus on just one player, Atiba is regularly playing nine guys and they are all contributing.”

Last time they met:

One Health Sharks Sheffield 81 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 84 (BBL Play-offs, semi-final second leg, EIS Sheffield, 15/04/2013)

What they say:

Sharks coach Atiba Lyons: “They have a very strong team this year.

“Over two legs we will need to take care of the ball and limit our turnovers. Newcastle like to force you to play fast into the corners. We need to be smart and patient and not fall for the bait. Much easier said than done.”

Eagles guard Drew Lasker: “It seems like they have begun the season with momentum from finishing strong last season.

“We respect them and will have a game plan but we have put more emphasis into focusing on us more over the past few weeks.”

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Photo – MPhotography

Story – BBL

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