The Manchester Giants have their winning streak ended in the final 2 seconds as the Glasgow Rocks steal a win 99-100.

After a 10 day break, the Manchester Giants were back in action this evening against the Glasgow Rocks. The Giants came into this game 0-2 at the Emirates Arena and 2nd in the championship. 

Tyrik Armstrong and Gareth Murray trade threes as they opened tonight’s scoring. Both teams traded scoring in the opening minutes of the first quarter going basket for basket and inside scoring for inside scoring with Geno Artison and Francois Lewis getting to the basket with the latter getting to the basket multiple times, off the assists of Tyrik Armstrong and Martaveous McKnight. Tonight saw the return of Dan Clark to the court after his time out from an injury, the GB big man made an instant impact on the offensive end with a pair of assists and a pair of rebounds in 2 minutes of play. With the rocks starting to heat up, the giants had to squash any chance of a real momentum shift and this was done by a Will Saunders three from the right wing followed by a deep two from Josh Steel in the exact same place and Tyrik Armstrong with a three from the exact place Will Saunders took his, giving the Giants a 5 point lead. A tightly contested first quarter finishes 22-20 in the favour of the Manchester Giants 

Baskets continued to be traded in the second quarter as David Ulph matched a pair of Jordan Johnson free throws with two points of his own to start the quarter. Since then, a 5 point lead was the largest lead any of the two teams had against the other in the early stages. That lead later became 7 as the Giants went on a 7-0 unanswered run that was started off with a Dan Clark hook shot followed by a slam by David Ulph, a make from the line by Will Saunders, an close shot from Saunders off an offensive rebound and a layup from Jordan Whelan off the back of a Will Saunders assist. Glasgow kept their heads above water to finish off the quarter, clawing the game back to just a single possession lead. This single possession lead saw the Giants ahead by a slight margin at 53-51. 

Both teams come out of the locker room and into the third quarter where the Giants go on an opening rampage, leading by as much as 8 in the opening minutes of the third quarter courtesy of Geno Artison, Francois Lewis, Tyrik Armstrong and a pair of back to back conversions by Josh Steel. The Giants consistently kept their distance in this quarter keeping a 6 point lead, the defensive aspect of the game plan starting to take hold after a thrilling first 2 quarters. Tit for tat scoring might have slowed down but still reared its head midway through the quarter. The giants squashed any potential for a first half repeat though with a flurry of inside scoring to retake a 5 point lead heading into the final quarter with still all to play for. 

Basketball is a game of runs and this quarter was no different, momentum swung between both teams frequently with Glasgow tying up the game on multiple occasions whilst Manchester pulled away just as many times. Both teams also resorted to trading baskets once again with defensive efforts being once again overshadowed by offensive output from both teams. With the game going down to the wire and one point separating the teams, a controversial backcourt violation is called giving the Glasgow Rocks a prime opportunity to capitalise which they are unsuccessful. The Giants also fail to gain a larger lead on the Rocks which results in the Rocks being able to launch a deep three and the shooter Gareth Murray gets fouled on the shot. The free throws were the deciding factor in this game as the Giants, who led the game for the first three quarters, lost in heart-breaking fashion 100-99. 

Despite the sombre result, some positives to take away from tonight include the 19 point display from Martaveous McKnight, the high volume scorer also had 5 rebounds and 4 assists to his name, Tyrik Armstrong notched up another double double with 17 points and 12 assists.  

Head Coach Lloyd Gardner said “I think the frustration is we gave up 100 points on the road.It’s always difficult if you’re gonna let teams score big like they did, especially here at home where we know they are really good. We put alot of pressure on our offense and that’s the bottom line for us, we needed to do a better job of playing on the defensive end and making things hard for them and that could have helped us.”

The Giants are back on the road for their next game as they go from one end of the country to this other to face the Bristol Flyers on April 2nd. Tip off is at 7:30pm and will be available to view via BBL Player. 

Words – Michael Blain

Photo – Emma @RocksNews_