The Manchester Giants fall short of victory against the Plymouth Patriots 77-84.
Paul James and his platoon of Patriots travelled to face off against Lloyd Gardner and his larger than life Manchester Giants. Both teams are coming off the back of wins after Manchester bested their cross Pennines foes in the Sheffield Sharks whilst Plymouth picked up their first win of the campaign against the Surrey Scorchers.
A Rashad Hassan hook shot was answered back by Tyrik Armstrong showing off some razzle dazzle and dishing to Jamell Anderson in the corner for three and our teams were underway. A lot of lead changes early on between both teams as they change leaders a staggering 7 teams vie for early control of this game. Manchester dominated the quarter with some exceptional ball movement with the guards penetrating the Plymouth defence and then kicking the ball out to the perimeter shooters to take wide open shots. The quarter ended with Plymouth leading by a whisker as a four point play from Kofi Josephs with 1.7 seconds left.
A slower start to the second quarter for both teams with both defences suffocating the offensive side of the ball in the early stages with a single basket being made in the opening two minutes. Plymouth looked to keep the momentum off the back on their ending to the first quarter but a tough and one play from Jamell Anderson looked to halt the Patriots in their tracks. Plymouth showed no signs of slowing as they went on a rampant scoring spree to give themselves a 37-54 lead heading into the half. A lot more basketball to play and a lot more time to stage a comeback.
Manchester took that first half personally as they came out of the gates with a pair of blocks on the defensive end followed up with a make by Dan Clark. The Giants were consistently chipping away at the Plymouth lead throughout the quarter with a quickfire corner three from Jordan Whelan looking to be the swing in momentum. The momentum did indeed swing as smash-mouth defensive efforts led to multiple steals, multiple fast-break points and a sizable chunk taken out of the lead with the lead now being 55-71.
The final quarter picked up where the previous one left off with a Giants score, courtesy of Jordan Whelan from an inbound play he took off the back of Kofi Josephs and later dished it off to Francois Lewis. Both teams were going back and forth with Plymouth keeping remnants of their lead intact. Back to back three pointers from Dan Clark cut the lead back into single digits with Plymouth guard Elvisi Dusha extending the lead once more. Once again replied by Jamell Anderson with a three of his own to take the lead back to 10 with 1 minute 47 seconds remaining. After chewing the clock the Giants were left with too little time to complete the comeback.
While it might not be the desired result, Dan Clark led the team in scoring with 15, followed closely by Jordan Whelan on 12 and both Tyrik Armstrong and Jamell Anderson finished with 10. Clark also finished with a pair of blocks.
Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said ‘’Disappointing obviously Plymouth are a much changed side, a much improved side. The 1st quarter we were a little below par. A big second quarter for them and we were never able to recover from that really. Second half I thought we showed better effort. Lots of disappointments and I don’t think we played collectively well today, just the stuff in training we have talked about offensively and defensively playing as a unit, I thought it was bit too much individual for us and disappointing as you said.’’
The next game for Manchester sees them take a journey to the north east and the Vertu Motors Arena to face the Newcastle Eagles on 21st January.
Words – Michael Blain
Photo – AllSportsPhotography