The Manchester Giants snapped their eight-game losing streak and kept their play-off hopes alive with a 97-90 win against the Worcester Wolves.
It was the Giants’ first game under new head coach Lloyd Gardner and his side came out firing, winning the first quarter 30-17 with Sam Cassell Jr in particular shooting brilliantly. Worcester are one of the in-form teams in the league for a reason though, and steady scoring in the next two quarters kept them well within reach as they too aim for a spot in the top 8.
The final quarter was an epic battle as both sides went back and forth in pursuit of an all-important victory with both sides trading the lead and an epic duel between Jordan Whelan and Jordan Williams, but it was the Giants who made the key plays down the stretch and hit the big shots to earn their first win in nine. Justin Satchell and Donovan Johnson in particular made some key stops on defense that were vital to securing the victory.
It was clearly a great night to score some points, with SIX Giants players finishing in double figures. Sam Cassell Jr was the star of the show on offence, putting up a huge 27 points and shooting 67% from 3PT range and 100% from the free throw line (5/5). Jordan Whelan may not have been at the top of the scoring charts with 15 points, but 10 of those came in the final quarter which helped secure a massive win. Manchester’s usual defensive stalwarts were also in fine form once again with both Donovan Johnson and David Ulph finishing the game with a double-double (18-13 for Johnson, 12-11 for Ulph). Alex Ouandie also provided a valuable contribution from the bench with 13pts, and Justin Satchell showed off his full range of skills with 10-7-7.
Matt Newby’s Wolves team put up a great fight on the night, led by Josh McSwiggan’s 20pts (whilst shooting 57% from 3PT range) and 16pt contributions from both Jordan Williams and Mike Parks Jr. The Giants did an excellent job of keeping Worcester captain Maarten Bouwknecht quiet however, as the usual 3-point machine scored just one of his two attempts from beyond the arc and finished with 11pts.
‘’We started off really well we made lots of threes early, but Worcester got back into the game and chipped back at it. I’m pleased mentality how we responded to that challenge and dug in for a big win, and I’m really proud of the physical effort of the player.’’ Said Head Coach Lloyd Gardner
The win gives Giants the season head-to-head over their play-off chasing rivals with huge fixtures against Glasgow and Plymouth coming up on Friday and Sunday respectively.
Words – Jordan Morris
Photo – AllSportsPhotography