Photography by Jack Hinds Photography

Manchester Giants marginally miss out on victory against top of the league Leicester Riders in a fantastic spectacle.

The Giants suffered heartbreak, as we were agonisingly defeated 80-78 in overtime, after the Riders forward Jay Couisnard netted a 3 pointer in the final throw of the game. The Giants shown remarkable character and brought passion to one of the best games the British Basketball League has witnessed .The players produced a strong team performance throughout and were narrowly close to taking the second victory of the weekend. The atmosphere at the Wright Robinson was electric with the fans playing their part in a dramatic game.

Giants got off to a good start in quarter one in a fairly even sided affair. Aliu opened the scoring for the Giants before a Mike Bernard classic dunk put the Giants up 8-4 with just under 5 minutes left on the clock. Riders responded and the Giants took a marginal 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

We began to make in roads into the riders defence and dominated at both ends of the court throughout. David Aliu shone for the Giants and started an 18-5 run in the second quarter, scoring a further nine points to put us in a strong position. Mike Bernard pulled off a sensational dunk that had the Wright Robinson on their feet, in the closing moments, as the Giants went into half time 16 points up to lead 40-24.

The Riders began to press and although the Giants sustained and led throughout the third quarter the deficit was reduced to 56-45 heading into the final quarter.Leicester continued to build pressure and reduced the deficit to 60-52 half way through the final quarter, and kept the Giants at bay. Despite the Riders quick turnovers the game still looked in the Giants favor when with 58 seconds remaining Watts netted a deep three pointer, before Bailey netted a vital free throw with 28 seconds on the clock to make it 66-60.

Riders forward Couisnard put the visitors back in the game with a three pointer before Mike Bernard took to the free throw line to make it a four-point game. Tensions rose when Sullivan netted a three pointer to leave the Giants ahead in a 1-point game 67-66. Aliu stepped up with seven seconds to play to net two crucial free throws to keep Giants in strong contention and looked to have won the game. Riders Couisnard produced a shock response as he hit a three pointer on the buzzer, to finish the game tied at 69-69 in regulation time and take the game to over time.

The visitors took an early lead in overtime, but a Stefan Gill three pointer brought the game back to within a point. The Giants dug deep and looked to have secured the game as key baskets from Aliu and Callum Jones took the Giants into a 78-75 lead with 36 seconds on the clock. The Riders Jay Couisnard made two from the line, to reduce the Giants lead to one point, before he went on to net a three pointer on the buzzer to bring heart break for the Giants and take the game 80-78.

Aliu led the scoring for the Giants in a tireless performance taking 26 points and seven rebounds.The game will certainly be talked about in seasons to come and was a great advert for British Basketball. The Giants play off hopes is still alive as we look to secure a victory on the road this Friday at the Mersey Tigers.

Official Photographs from the Game can be seen here: Manchester Giants vs Leicester Riders Game Photographs