Giants 85-106 Eagles
Brian Semonian and his Manchester giants are back in action as they host the Newcastle Eagles in another matchday of high flying British Basketball League action.
Returning to the National Basketball Performance Centre is former Manchester Giant, high flying forward and NCAA D2 starlet Tajh Green. A fan favourite amongst Giant fans during the previous season and a walking highlight reel in the process, Green would be heading back into Manchester with confidence and a point to prove to his former employers.
The last time these 2 teams faced off was in the North East. The Tyneside outfit bested the Giants 92-78 in the first round of the newly formatted British Basketball League Trophy. Beside this, these 2 teams had only faced off against each other one time before dating all the way back to november. The result was of a similar nature.
Manchester Giants: Mason Bourcier, Nicholas Lewis ©, Nick Stampley, William Lee, Legend Robertin.
Newcastle Eagles: Ricky McGill, Larry Austin Jr, Jordan Johnson, Darius Defoe ©, Tajh Green.
Manchester struck first at home as Nicholas Lewis notched up a 3 point play the traditional way. Darius Defoe answered back with a traditional play of his own as the seasoned Eagles veteran hit from a midrange fadeaway.
Eagles coach Marc Steutel called an early time out as lacklustre interior defence from his side allowed Nicholas Lewis multiple unopposed looks from the inside.
Newcastle looked sharp heading out of the break but became dull once more, a 3 ball from Mason Bourcier followed up by a midrange effort from Legend Robertin put the Giants up by 5.
Nick Stampley reinforced the defensive efforts and showed off his offensive skill set, drawing the foul and finishing at the charity stripe. Evan Walshe checked into the game for Mason Bourcier and made an instant impact with a silky eurostep into a right handed lay up.
A strong 1st quarter showing from Manchester on both sides of the ball, despite a Newcastle resurgence in the final minutes, Manchester held the advantage being up 25-18.
Manchester and Newcastle came out of the break going blow for blow, 4 consecutive 3’s (2 from each team) followed up by Evan Walshe and Malcom Delpeche trading baskets.Newcastle slowly began to close the gap against Manchester, coming as close as 4 points numerous times in the quarter.
Cunning interior play from Manchester managed to keep their noses in front as Evan Walshe fed Legend Robertin multiple times inside for the 7”1 big man to hammer home. Wlashe later turned from provider to finisher with a tough move inside, gaining the advantage of the bigger defender.
Newcastle managed to close the gap to a single possession, Larry Johnson drove inside and finished high off the glass and caught the Giants sleeping in the process. Newcastle retook the lead minutes later as Tajh Green struck from deep and followed it up with a deep 2 in quick succession.
The lead changed back to mancunian hands after a quick response from Nicholas Lewis on the interior. Evan Walshe solidified the Giants lead with a trifecta of free throws and then another 3 ball from deep to take the lead to 5.
Newcastle would start the 3rd quarter strong, a quick layup from Larry Austin Jr combined with a 5 point barrage from Jordan Johnson only halted by a Mason Bourcier 3 ball causing a Manchester Giants timeout.
Manchester responded quickly from their timeout and pummelled the interior through their big man legend Robertin and Austin Lawton to regain the lead. Lawton and Ricky McGill would trade baskets and the lead would swap hands once more.
Manchester managed to keep in touching distance of the Eagles, consistently hammering on the interior of the Eagles defence and keeping themselves alive via Nick Stampley and Evan Walshe as Manchester saw themselves down by 4 to start the final quarter.
A slow start for Manchester in this final quarter, McGill, Austin Jr and Ward-Hibbert would extend the Newcastle lead to as far as 12 points before Mason Bourcier cut it back down to 9 as Manchester were outscored 3-10 in the opening 2 minutes of the quarter. Newcastle re-asserted their lead to 13 through a pair of makes on the inside from Jordan Johnson.
The Giants guard combo of Mason Bourcier and Evan Walshe combined for 6 points to close the gap to single digits, Walshe followed up his efforts as he picked the pocket of Ricky McGill for a wide open look for 2, causing a stoppage.
Manchester later found themselves in foul trouble after a reach in foul from Mason Bourcier, Newcastle would use this to their advantage as they began to create for the interior and draw the foul. Manchester would do the same a minute later as Nicholas Lewis was fouled by Darius Defoe and put the Eagles in team fouls as well.
Walshe and Lewis would continue to slash inside whilst William Lee provided range from beyond the arc. The elusiveness of Newcastle on the inside coupled with Ricky McGill on the perimeter saw the Giants lose out by a large 21 point margin with a big 4th showing from Newcastle outsourcing Manchester 36-19.
William Lee: 13 Points, 6 Rebounds, 4 Assists.
Nicholas Lewis: 14 Points, 6 Assists, 2 Steals.
Evan Walshe: 24 Points, 5 Rebounds, 2 Steals 75%FG.
Nick Stampley: 8 Points, 13 Rebounds, 2 Steals.
Next up on the Manchester giants calendar is an away trip down south to Surrey Sports Park to take on the Surrey Scorchers, an incredibly pivotal game for both sides as it could ultimately decide who takes that final playoff spot. Tip off is scheduled for February 17th at 5:00pm and will be available to view via the British Basketball League’s YouTube channel.