Manchester Giants take a tough loss in Bristol as the Bristol Flyers win 87-66.

Lloyd Gardner’s men took on a trip down south to face the Bristol Flyers. Manchester have booked their spot in the playoffs whilst Bristol are still fighting for a playoff spot of their own. 

Martaveous McKnight knocks down a three from the left elbow to start off today’s bout off the back of a Jack Hudson assist. Captain Jack was in the thick of the action early on as he converted a wide open layup after a Jamell Anderson steal and some quick ball movement up-court. A slow scoring first quarter that focused primarily on defence, both teams attempted to fashion good openings on every trip down the floor. The Giants had a slight lead throughout the entire opening quarter going as high as 9. In a flash to Giants only led by four courtesy of a Jacob three at the final second with Josh Steel all over him. The Giants went into the second quarter up 20-16. 

Geno Artison replied to a three from Bristol’s Marcus Evans with a three of his own from the wing to kick off this second half. The Giants lead was hanging on a knife edge after the Giants only scored three points in four minutes. Add into the fact that only a single possession separated the two teams, both teams drew level after Mike Miller converted an open lay up. Josh Steel did propel the Giants back in front with a three and further reinforced by Geno Artison from close range. After a 5-0 run from the Giants, the Flyers replied with a 7-0 run of their own to take the lead for the first time. The flyers built on that lead to lead by as much as 7 from makes at the line and close range. The Giants looked to respond with a momentum swing but seemed to struggle from a scoring standpoint. The Giants got a last second score of their own as Callum Jones converted from close off a Martaveous McKnight assist. The Giants trailed as they headed into the quarter 35-42. 

Dan Clark backs down his man and goes to the line to shoot two and gets the Giants underway for the third quarter. The Giants have continued to struggle throughout the third quarter being outscored by the Flyers in the third quarter as well as in the previous quarter which subsequently found themselves down by double digits. Manchester still showed signs of life as they were down by 14 through Jordan Whelan cutting to the basket with the shot clock winding down and managing to convert the lay up and grab the and one from the referees. Geno Artison also beat the buzzer to end the third quarter with a three from all the way downtown to cut the gap ever so slightly. Bristol headed into the fourth quarter up 66-51. 

Scoring woes were a continuous plague for the Giants since the second quarter and this final quarter was no different, being outscored since the first quarter the Giants needed to regroup. The Giants did not manage to muster a comeback as they trailed continuously throughout the quarter with the lead seemingly getting bigger by the minute as the lead was a 15 point lead at the start to then the lead growing to as big as 24 with very little to go. A large deficit was the final score as the Giants fell to the Flyers 87-66. 

Geno Artison carried the scoring load tonight for Manchester as he led all Giants scorers with 15 points on 54% from the field and also 4 rebounds. Dan Clark followed behind as the GB Captain managed 12 points on 50% from the field. 

Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said “I thought we started well and we kind of got worn down. I thought Bristol did a good job of really trying to take us out of the way we wanna play. I don’t think we responded the way we would have liked to that.We’re disappointed I feel like we could have played better. I feel like their physicality and the defence that they play disrupted us. So we’ve gotta do a better job when teams get after us on that end of the floor.”

The action doesn’t stop there as in 10 days time Manchester Giants play their penultimate game of the regular season away against the Sheffield Sharks. Both teams will be looking to tip the other into a higher playoff seed when they clash on April 22nd at 7:30pm on BBL Player.

Words – Michael Blain

Photo – Todd Lindley