The Giants welcomed the reigning BBL playoff champions Newcastle Eagles to the National Basketball performance centre with a hard-fought 92-86 victory in the first home game of the season.
The opening quarter showed sheer energy and electricity, a much better start than Friday. Physical defensive blocks from Martaveous McKnight and team GB captain Dan Clark allowed for a promising start. A barrage of threes from up and down the lineup kept the giants within touching distance of the Eagles.
The second quarter paralleled the first with the same electric pace and end to end entertainment, ball movement has been a key component of Manchester’s approach to the game as all five Giants on the floor looked to spread the opposition and find a good look for an open man. With high-intensity play comes the certainty for fouls to be made as both teams ended the quarter in the penalty with 5 fouls each
The effort levels were still at an all-time high with the Giants as they entered the second half. A Tyrik Armstong steal and Jamell Anderson dunk personified the Giants high octane style of play as they drew level at 55-55. A good percentage of the third quarter Manchester had momentum firmly with them to make the comeback and even lead by the end of the third quarter 70-68.
Momentum shifted once again as the Eagles led by as much as 8 halfway through the final quarter with Josh Steel and Jamell Anderson cutting the lead right back down to a single possession.
Tyrik Armstrong, living up to the nickname “The Magic Man” producing a special game for himself with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and a whopping 5 steals, proving to everyone that he can do it all.
The guard combo of Martaveous McKnight and Josh Steel led scoring combining for 36 points with the former having 18 and the latter 19.
Head Coach Lloyd Gardner added It was a pleasing second-half performance. I thought the first half we didn’t play badly, just little bits that we had to just finish a play, finish with a rebound, finish a final possession. We were one closeout maybe short. Great effort for us second half similar to the Cheshire game, we dug in when we felt we needed to, really pleased with that and pleased with the overall team performance.
Up next the Giants take a trip to the other side of the Pennines to face the Sheffield Sharks October 8th.
Words – Michael Blain
Photo – Harry Collins