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Giants 87 - 106 Gladiators

Giants 87 - 106 Gladiators

Giants slain by Gladiators, 87-106, in a high-scoring affair which sees their winless streak extended into March.

Giants basketball returned to the National Basketball Performance Centre this evening as the Manchester Giants host the sole Scottish team in the British Basketball League, the Caledonia Gladiators. 

Manchester were looking to steal a win against an out-of-form Gladiators side. Glen Murray’s team had only picked up one win in their previous three outings. Meanwhile, Manchester would be hoping to rewrite their fortunes having not recorded a win in 2024.

Offering more adversity, the Giants would look to record their first win of the calendar year without Head Coach, Brian Semonian, and dynamic center, Austin Lawton, who were both unavailable due to suspension. However, the return from injury of Jamell Anderson provided a huge boost for Manchester, fresh off being confirmed as a reserve in the inaugural British Basketball League All-Star game.

Starting Fives: 

Manchester Giants: Nicholas Lewis, Mason Bourcier, Jamell Anderson ©, William Lee, Legend Robertin

Caledonia Gladiators: Quade Green, Patrick Whelan, Lukas Palyza ©, Prince Onwas, Clifton Moore Jr.

First half: 

A defensive rebound, followed by a put-back slam, both by Legend Robertin puts the Giants ahead with the first basket of the game. The Gladiators swiftly responded, pulling four points ahead with a pair of threes and an electrifying fastbreak dunk.

The Giants were holding firm, having reduced the lead back to one point, playing tough defense, exemplified by a brutal Legend Robertin block, but once again a pair of threes from Lukas Palyza, as well as long-rangers from Prince Onwas and Quade Green meant the lead was back up to five as the first quarter drew to a close.

A solid quarter for the Giants offensively, but they left a lot to be desired on the other end as they give up 30 points in 10 minutes. William Lee leads the team with 10 points.

The Giants open the second quarter with some Legend Robertin bully-ball, as he overpowers Clifton Moore Jr. in the paint for two. Manchester keep chipping away, and with six minutes left in the half, they take their first lead of the second quarter. A tightly-contested, right-handed layup by Nicholas Lewis put the Giants ahead as the National Basketball Performance Centre erupts.

This lead was short-lived, as Oscar Baldwin lays up at the other end on the very next possession, taking back the advantage with a one-point lead of their own.

This lead is then extended to four, which is followed by a scoring deadlock, which sees both teams missing shots and turning the basketball over. Manchester finally broke this drought with a Nick Stampley triple, but Caledonia respond quickly with their own three-pointer, courtesy of Palyza, forcing stand-in coach, Paul Cantwell, into a timeout.

Lethal ball movement and efficiency from behind the arc, especially at the end of the second quarter means Caledonia carry a 10-point lead into the half, as the score reads 41-51. Robertin leads the Giants in scoring with 11 points, accompanied by seven rebounds and a pair of blocks.

Second half: 

The Giants come out flat in the second half, taking over 3 minutes to record their first second-half points, as Caledonia extend their lead to 21. The sleeping Giants eventually awoke as Mason Bourcier strung back-to-back triples, and Legend Robertin threw down yet another vicious dunk, re-igniting the simmering Giants crowd.

Jamell Anderson gets fouled on a three-point attempt and goes to the line, making all three. The two sides then exchange threes, via Mike Bothwell and Mason Bourcier’s third of the quarter. A mini-rally sees the Giants make up for their poor start to the half as they reduce the deficit to 13 points, giving them some optimism going into the final 10 minutes.

It is Evan Walshe who is the one to re-open the scoring here in the fourth, as his coast-to-coast layup cuts the lead to 11. Quade Green then nails consecutive mid-range jumpshots, and a pair of free throws, taking himself past 20 points on the night, and once again nullifying any dent the Giants made in the Gladiators’ lead, as has been the story for much of this game. Caledonia seemed to step into a higher gear as soon as Manchester gathered any momentum and soar back ahead.

The Giants were just unable to keep up with the Gladiators’ superior ball movement, seeing Caledonia shoot 44% from three, and once again allowing over 100 points in the ballgame. Their offense was more of a positive however, as they scored over 20 in three of the four quarters and spread the ball about well.

The final score saw the Giants lose by 19, as the Giants were defeated by the Gladiators at home, still looking for their first win of 2024.

Stats: 

William Lee: 14pts, 6rebs, 77 2pt%

Legend Robertin: 13pts, 9rebs, 2blks, 2stls

Jamell Anderson: 13pts, 5asts

Next up for the Giants - a trip to Tyneside to take on the Newcastle Eagles at the Vertu Motors Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for March 8th at 7:30pm. A livestream of the game will be available to view via the British Basketball League’s YouTube channel. 

All the highlights from tonight’s game are available to view below: 

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