Giants 73 - 91 Gladiators
The BBL’s fifth-placed team welcomed sixth on Friday night as the Manchester Giants went down 73-91 to the Caledonia Gladiators, after a cold second quarter put the win out of reach.
It was the Giants who would start the stronger of the two sides, with four of the starting five getting onto the score sheet within the first two minutes of play.
The usually seamless offensive juggernaut that is Vince Macaulay’s Giants rolled on, giving the home side an 11-point lead at the end of the first with the scores at 31-20.But a string of missed buckets on offence and strong rebounding efforts from the visitors meant scoring for the hosts ground to a halt.
The persistence of San Francisco alumnus Patrick Tape on the glass and around the rim gave the Gladiators a lifeline, as the six-foot-ten power forward strung together a series of high effort plays to whittle away the Giants lead to just two.And it was a corner three from team captain Jonny Bunyan off a Prince Onwas assist that would eventually give the visitors their first lead of the night at 41-40.
Another three from Scotsman Bunyan, followed by an Onwas layup put the exclamation point on one of the worst offensive quarters of Giants basketball all season, as the men in green totalled just 11 points in the second.Despite the surprising cold streak from the hosts in the second, it was only a six-point game at the break as Gladiators led 42-48 on the back of 15 first-half points from Tape and nine points from star rookie David Sloan.With the start of the third the game took another turn as Giants tightened up on defence and finally shots started to fall.
Tajh Green made his presence on the defensive end on the way to a mammoth ten-point, 17-rebound performance - alongside two blocks.Back-to-back free-throw makes from Dirk Williams made it a five-point game as the hosts fought hard to find their offensive rhythm.
But Coach Gareth Murray’s men were to finish the third quarter strongest, extending their lead again to seven points to head in to the final period with the scores at 57-64.And the Glasgow franchise continued their momentum to seal the result of the game on an uncharacteristically cold night for the Giants.
Macaulay’s men shot just 36% from the field with only five of 22 attempts from three successful.The visitors were led in scoring by Tape, who poured in 19 points. He was helped by fellow forward Jeremiah Bailey and guard Al Durham, who added 18 and 15 points respectively.
Head Coach Vince Macaulay said: " I think you have to look at the second half as an area where we lost our way. We just couldn't find enough shots to take". "They were efficient in the way they played. They got their legs back in the second half, we went the other way".