Manchester Giants take the first win of three against the Glasgow Rocks as they emerge victorious 94-79.

The Giants were back in action tonight in the National Basketball Performance Centre against Glen Murray and his Glasgow Rocks. A matchup that was nothing short of a spectacle. 

BBL’s player of the week Jaycee Hillsman opened up tonight’s proceedings with a quick fire three, this was abruptly answered via team GB captain Dan Clark with a quick fire three of his own. A highly offensive display from both teams throughout the opening 10 minutes was highlighted by a monstrous alley oop from Tyrik Armstrong which was slammed home by Jamell Anderson. The former also caught the ankles of Jaycee Hillsman the very next play. The Giants took the first quarter 28-24 in what was a high paced scoring affair. 

A slower start to the second quarter for both teams with 9 points in total being scored in the opening 3 minutes. Defensive efforts were clearly amplified by both teams as they were making each other run down the shot clock and take highly contested shots. Both teams looked to be playing incredibly physical basketball which subsequently involved a copious amount of fouls being committed. Once the defensive side of the ball got ticking for Manchester they began to further extend their lead via scoring on all three levels to gain the first double digit lead of the evening. In this first half alone 3 point percentage has significantly improved from the Giants defeat to London. A key weapon in the Giants offensive once again alive and kicking as they bested Glasgow by 5 as they headed into the locker room. 

Defensive efforts were once again turned up a notch by Lloyd Gardener’s men, not allowing any easy looks and very little makes in the paint too with boxing out their opposite numbers and defensive rebounding being a key factor in that, keeping them ahead in the game. A few turnovers on the offensive side of the ball allowed the Rocks crucial fast break points and allowed them to to take a sizable portion out of the Giants lead. Those fast break points were promptly shut down by a vicious Martaveous McKnight block with 2 minutes to go in the quarter. The Giants bested Glasgow in back to back to back quarters as the Giants lead the Glaswegian outfit 71-64. 

The final 10 minutes saw Glasgow get into foul trouble early on as they tallied 4 fouls in the space of 2 minutes. They later picked up a 5th 4 minutes into the final quarter giving Manchester a large advantage when they cut to the basket. The foul trouble continued for Glasgow as Jaycee Hillsman fouled out early into the quarter followed by Jordan Johnson in the latter stages, leaving Player/ Manager Gareth Murray one option down in his rotation and with Fraser and Harris both on 4 fouls each the rotation was set to be hindered even further. Kingsley Kwagboso showed the Rocks defence done right, thwarting Glasgow at nearly every attempt at a basket on the inside with a steal, a block and numerous defensive rebounds to add to his 6 points on the offensive side of the ball. 

Today’s battle with Glasgow showed off the quality of Dan Clark who makes it back to back double doubles whilst Tyrik “The Magic Man” Armstrong as he flirted with a double double finishing with 21 points and 9 assists. Will Saunders also had an impressive night off the bench scoring 18 points scoring 100% of his shots from inside the arc and 57% of his shots outside of the arc. 

Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said “ I thought last week it was one of those weeks that we put behind us. There was alot going on behind the scenes. Obviously I was away with covid, no Geno today who’s still away with covid aswell. So a disruptive week last week outside of basketball for everyone involved. For us it was a great opportunity for us to put it to bed and move onto this 3 game series essentially against Glasgow. I’m pleased with the bounce back today we played pretty well for large stretches.

This is the first of three meetings between these teams as they play each-other a total of three times between December 10th and December 15th. Manchester take the long haul to Glasgow this Sunday December 12th at the Emirates Arena for the first leg of the BBL Cup semi final, the return leg sees the teams battle it out once more in the National Basketball Performance Centre December 15th. 

Words – Michael Blain

Photo – All Sports Photography