The Manchester Giants fall short on the reverse retro night as the Leicester Riders take the game 88-82. 

Retro Night reared its head once again but this time took the 90’s to the Morningside Arena where the Manchester Giants and Leicester Riders dawned their retro jerseys and battled it out. 

A slow 0-5 start for the Manchester Giants to kick off their first quarter in the Morningside Arena. The scoreless drought wasn’t without a bright moment as Jamell Anderson blocked Patrick Whelan on the lay up. Since then the Giants went from strength to strength and which started with a Dan Clark hook-shot and away the Giants went. Dan Clark inspired an offensive onslaught from the Giants to go from down 9 to level with three minutes left of the first. Since the tie at 15 a piece, both teams began to trade basket for basket with one both teams unable to draw an early lead. David Ulph put the visiting Giant’s up by a single point from close range and the first quarter of retro night ended in the Giants favour up 21-20. 

The early second quarter started in favour of the Riders as the Giants had another scoreless opening 2 minutes. Martaveous McKnight pulls up for 2 and sinks it to start the Giants off once again. The second quarter proved a struggle once again from the Giants when it came to scoring, coincidentally the Giants held the Riders to minimal scoring in the same quarter. As a result of that, the scoring stayed relatively close throughout the second period of play. The Riders take the second quarter leading by 5 at the half off the back of a Nelson – Henry three ball. 

Tyrik Armstrong starts the giants off on the right foot for the third quarter to bring the giants within touching distance. Jamell Anderson builds on this quickfire Giants start by grabbing 4 points of his own in back to back possessions. Another Tyrik Armstrong bucket brought the Giants within 2 then began the process of both teams trading buckets. The Giants went back on the front foot once again with a Martaveous McKnight three ball from the right elbow hitting nothing but net. Tyrik further increased the Giants lead and showed some serious yet seemingly controversial razzle dazzle resulting in a double technical fouls to coach Rob Paternostro and Kimbal Mackenzie. Momentum began to swing in favour of the home team which resulted in the rider levelling the score at 58 a piece with a minute and a half left. A rampant Leicester crowd was silenced by Will Saunders at the left elbow with the Riders leading 62-61 with one whole quarter left. 

Martaveous McKnight spurs the Giants on in the final quarter as he pulled up from the Elbow. The Giants once again take the lead as Jamell Anderson breaks out into the open lane and throws down a reverse dunk, an authoritative way to take the lead and swing the momentum in favour of the Giants. That momentum was inevitably short lived as the Riders mounted a cataclysmic run in the final minutes which saw them win by a 6 point deficit. 

Despite the somber result, it was a good scoring night for Tyrik Armstrong who tallied 21 points and 10 assists to his name, a causal double double from the BBL player of the Month. Dan Clark shortly followed as the British big man finished with 19 points and led the team in rebounds with 6. He also finished with a perfect percentage from beyond the arc.

Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said  “Obviously the scoreboard says we took the champions pretty close,  a tight game at the end, I think at the same time we’ve definitely played better in the last few weeks”

The Giants next game sees them back at the National Basketball Performance Centre for their penultimate home game of the season against the Surrey Scorchers on Sunday 10th April at 5:00pm. 

Words – Michael Blain

Photo – Harry Collins