A superb second half comeback wasn’t enough for Manchester Giants as they were edged out 86-92 by London City Royals.
In the first ever meeting between the two sides, the Giants turned the game on its head by 22 points in the fourth quarter, but foul trouble for big man Willie Clayton hampered their game plan in the run in and the Royals made it pay.
With both teams entering the game with a 100% record, something had to give and the Royals, inspired by the excellent Matthew Bryan-Amaning, took charge early doors, leading 18-28 after the first quarter.
Bryan-Amaning landed a bizarre shot from range on the half-time buzzer to give his side a 13 point advantage, with him having contributed 13 points himself to have the visitors 36-49 in front.
Half time | Giants 36 Royals 49.
— Manchester Giants ? (@McrGiants) September 30, 2018
The Royals maintained a lead at the beginning of the second half, but the Giants, led by Mike McCall Jr, started to chip away at them and a big three pointer from Ingus Bankevics got them within five points with two minutes left in the third.
By the end of the third quarter, Giants had dragged themselves back within a point, having won the quarter 24-12.
McCall Jr was chipping in at both ends and he sank a brilliant three pointer to give the Giants their first lead of the match.
— Manchester Giants ? (@McrGiants) October 1, 2018
But a harsh call on Clayton, who was called for a foul under the offensive basket despite the attention of three Royals defenders, saw him receive a fourth personal foul and he then received a technical for his complaints and that meant he was sat down for the remainder of the game.
Despite that setback, the Giants kicked on and it was raining three pointers for a period, with Bankevics and James Jones twice landing big shots as the Giants opened up a remarkable 75-67 lead with just over five minutes on the clock.
Big guy fouls out so @McrGiants draining threes all over the place!!
— Daniel Routledge (@dan_routledge) September 30, 2018
The Royals managed to steady the ship and with Will Neighbour doing a job on Bankevics in defence, they started to work their way back in to the game.
Ryan Lucas landed a couple of crucial shots to drag the Royals in front and a 15-2 run from them proved to be a killer blow for the Giants.
— Danny Byrne (@DjByrne28) September 30, 2018
After falling behind, and without their big man in the paint, Giants just couldn’t convert on offence and time ran out, with Torry Butler’s nice three on the buzzer bringing them within six.
MVP McCall top scored for the Giants with 23 points, while Clayton contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds despite sitting out a large part of the final quarter.
— #SpanishDale (@SpanishRochdale) September 30, 2018
Leading scorers – McCall 23, Clayton 18, Bankevics 14 (Giants); Bryan-Amaning 29, Lucas / Neighbour 15 (Royals)
Turning point – Trailing by as many as five points, the Royals put together a blistering finish to the game – outscoring the Giants 17-9 over the final four minutes of the contest.
Key stat – The visitors kept the ball moving and found plenty of easy looks, thanks to a combined 26 assists – 10 more than the hosts managed.
Game hero – Matthew Bryan-Amaning went to work early, scoring 16 of his team-high 29 points in the first half. London’s talisman also netted several crucial baskets down the stretch.
Giants are at home again next Sunday when Surrey Scorchers visit the Trafford Sportsdome. CLICK HERE to buy tickets or call 0161 747 2485.