Giants 79-93 Patriots
The British Basketball League made its return this Thursday evening and to tip things off once more in the league, the Manchester Giants hosted the Plymouth City Patriots.
Both teams currently occupy the bottom two places in the league table heading into this evening. A win for Plymouth will allow them to close the gap whereas a win for Manchester will take them above the Surrey Scorchers and into the final playoff spot.
The last time that these two teams played it was back in November and a real spectacle for the neutral fan, a very slim win for Manchester as they bested Plymouth at the National Basketball performance Centre by a single point.
This previously mentioned game would put Manchester up 2-0 on the direct head to head standings against Plymouth. The Patriots would be looking to claw one back against the Giants this evening.
Both teams took the opening few minutes to shake off the rust from the previous weeks. Once that was done, both teams began to put together an interesting and intense opening quarter. Plymouth started out with a 8-0 scoring run in 2 minutes to set the tone of this evening's fixture.
Nicholas Lewis responded with 5 points of his own on back to back possessions for Manchester and both teams were underway. Nick Stampley and Mason Bourcier tied up the game at 12 apiece and both teams began trading baskets back and forth before Plymouth made an open 3 with 38 seconds left to put the Patriots up by 3.
William Lee faked the hand off and got to the basket for the first basket of tonight’s 2nd quarter and put Manchester hot on the heels of Plymouth. Evan Walshe followed suit as he put the Plymouth defenders in a spin cycle to convert the tough layup.
Plymouth hit back against Manchester with a 9-0 scoring run to extend out to a 7 point lead. William Lee traded 3 balls with Patriots Dusha before Nick Stampley struck with another whilst a Nicholas Lewis free throw cut the lead to a single possession. Mason Bourcier tied up both teams just after the break at 36 each. William Lee fired from wide open for another big 3.
It went right down to the wire the entire quarter. Manchester did win the quarter 26-24 but Plymouth still remained on top going into the break, being up by 1.
A very slow start for the Manchester Giants in this 3rd quarter. 6 total points in 6 minutes of play for the Giants. Meanwhile, Plymouth managed to put up 12 in that exact same time frame. Things went from bad to worse for Manchester as Evan Walshe received a second technical foul and subsequently was ejected from the game. The Patriots looked to capitalise on a very shallow Manchester side as they put up an 8 point lead against a 6 man Manchester side.
Patriot’s Copeland put Plymouth up by double digits once again and began to stretch their lead even further against a depleted Manchester Giants side. Manchester still showed signs of fight through William Lee, the Giants forward and UAB alumni attempted to bring Manchester back into this game numerous times throughout the quarter and was aided by Jalen Harris but could only bring the lead down to as much as 12 points.
Nicholas Lewis ended up fouling out of the game with 3 minutes left and this made Manchester have to finish the game with a bare 5 man rotation. Mason Bourcier and William Lee combined for 5 points in the final minute of the game in what would only count as a consolation in the end as Plymouth won 93-79.
William Lee: 26 Points, 17 Rebounds, 44%3PT.
Nicholas Lewis: 17 Points, 5 Assists, 3 Steals.
Now that the Trophy month of January has concluded, the fixtures would be coming thick and fast as the next game for Manchester does not leave them much time as they welcome their North West rivals and newly crowned Trophy champions the Cheshire Phoenix to the National Basketball Performance Centre on February 3rd with the fixture set to tip off at 8:00pm.