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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2008, 18:39 GMT
Milton Keynes triumph in BBL Cup
By Rob Dugdale in Birmingham

Basketball
Kevin Griffin hit 24 points as Milton Keynes Lions collected their first ever trophy with a 69-66 victory over Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Cup final.

It was a great day in Birmingham for the Lions, who hit 13 three-pointers, five of them to Griffin.

Newcastle, who were led by Charles Smith's 21 points, came back from a 14-point deficit to trail by just a single point with 75 seconds remaining.

But two free throws from the Lions' Michael New completed his side's win.

Milton Keynes made a poor start to the game, trailing 13-3 in a scrappy first quarter.

Tonight we couldn't buy a basket inside - but then neither could Newcastle

Lions coach Vince Macauley

But they recovered to hit six three-pointers - four of them to Tony Windless, who ended the game with 22 points - in the second period to post a 33-28 half-time lead.

Griffin matched that with four threes in a 17-point haul in the third quarter as the Lions went 55-41 up.

Smith almost brought the Eagles their eighth title in three seasons when he opened the fourth quarter with nine straight points.

Andrew Bridge added seven points in two minutes to put the pressure on the Lions.

But Newcastle's last shot - from Smith - rimmed out and Milton Keynes ran the clock down to five seconds before New was fouled.

Lions coach Vince Macauley paid tribute to his side's long-distance shooting.

"We're the second best three-point-shooting team in the BBL and we're so deep in those positions that anyone can hit those shots at any given time," he said. "This win means a lot to us - I know we have a veteran team and there are lot of jokes being made about that.

"But we have a well-balanced inside-outside game. Tonight we couldn't buy a basket inside - but then neither could Newcastle."

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