The Manchester Giants fell to a fourth successive league defeat, this time losing 90-76 to the in-form Sheffield Sharks at Belle Vue.

The visitors were in control of the game right from the get go as their aggressive defence prevented the Giants from getting easy buckets in the paint, allowing their offence to flourish in transition.

Danny Byrne’s side found themselves down by 15 at the end of the first quarter, but a positive second quarter saw them cut the deficit down to 12 as they trailed 49-37 at the half.

That was as close as the Giants came to a comeback however, as they allowed the Sharks far too many easy shots from 3-point range and let the game escape their grasp.

The effort was there in the final 10 minutes to keep themselves in the game, but the astute Sheffield defence prevented them from getting many open looks and shut the game down. Manchester often didn’t help themselves though, committing a number of unnecessary fouls as well as 16 turnovers.

Despite another disappointing evening, there were plenty of standout performances as the Giants players refused to let their heads drop. Jordan Whelan continued his good post-injury form with 15 points and Sam Cassell Jr again tried his best to orchestrate the offence, finishing with 14pts of his own. Donovan Johnson’s performance seemed to go under the radar with his tenacity on defence being admirable as he ended with 12pts, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, and David Ulph was as valuable from the bench as always with 14pts and 7 rebounds.

As for the Sharks, they had a number of quality performances, with Jeremy Helmsley (26-4-5), Jordan Ratinho (20-5) and Antwon Lillard (18-5-3) putting their names up in lights as they continued their hot run of form as of late.

The game also saw the return of Giants legend Callum Jones who left for the Sharks over the summer. Sadly, our record points scorer didn’t get any time on the court, or have the deserved appreciation from the Giants faithful given current COVID restrictions.

’We’ve got to get through it and keep fighting, this is basketball at the end of the day.’’ Said Head Coach Danny Byrne 

Off the back of this poor run, the Giants have a great opportunity for some silverware coming up, with their opening BBL Trophy fixture against Worcester taking place on Wednesday.

 

Words – Jordan Morris

Photo – All Sports Photography