The Manchester Giants produced a stunning comeback in the fourth quarter to earn a huge morale boosting victory on the road, beating the Newcastle Eagles 95-91.
The first quarter was a real battle for supremacy as both teams traded the lead multiple times in a pulsating back-and-forth affair, but it was the second quarter where the Eagles really started to flex their muscle as a late scoring run saw them go in at the half up 46-32.
MVP candidate Rahmon Fletcher then really strutted his stuff in the third quarter, as he hit shot after shot to have a whopping 36 points, with 10 minutes still left in the game and helping the Eagles to a 15pt lead, a number which seemed unassailable given how the game was going. However, the Giants were adamant that they weren’t going home with a whimper, and went on a stunning 35-16 run in the final quarter to earn a famous win on the road. After such a great display from the Eagles’ defence in the first half (limiting the Giants to just 32pts), they gave up 63 in the second as they fell apart from a seemingly comfortable position.
Sam Cassell Jr had a second half to remember, with 18 of his 22 points coming in the last 20 minutes as he anchored the team to an improbable victory (and he was also one assist away from a double-double. David Ulph continues to be the league’s most consistent player as he finished with 20pts and 9 rebounds, and even hit a few jump shots that Sam would be proud of! Alex Ouandie was a star off the bench, providing an almighty contribution on defence with a season high 11 rebounds and an incredible steal in the final seconds that secured the win for his team. He also scored an important 12 points on 62% shooting.
As for the Eagles, it was Fletcher who starred as he finished with 38pts (68% shooting) and 9 assists, but the Giants did exceptionally well to keep him quiet in that amazing final quarter, limiting the star guard to just 2pts. Cortez Edwards yet again showed his range of skills with a statline of 11-8-6, and reigning 2-time MVP Justin Gordon had 16-4-4, but no one else on the team got close to matching the insane numbers put up by Fletcher.
‘’The first half forget what Newcastle did, we didn’t play at the level we wanted to. In the second half we got on a run but a couple of things just didn’t go our way. We played alot better collectively on the defensive end and that was a massive driving force. I feel when we do that we are competitive.’’ Said Head Coach Lloyd Gardner
The win will give the Giants an almighty boost as they hope to sneak into the final playoff spot, and a win against Sheffield on Sunday may just have fans and players alike believing.
Words – Jordan Morris
Photo – Kieron Carr