Gladiators 92 - 83 Giants
The Manchester Giants travelled up to the dizzying heights of the Scottish north to take on the Caledonia Gladiators. Last time these two teams faced one another it was the Scottish outfit who took the spoils 91-73.
With the bolstering of Kofi Joseph’s the Manchester Giants looked for retribution and an advantage in the head to head matchup being currently tied at 1 a piece.
Dirk Williams drew first blood as he pulled up from the right elbow to sink his first three of the evening.
The first Caledonia lead was short-lived. Sloan connected from deep. But before the Gladiators could regroup, Anthony Roberson slashed into the paint and shoved an easy make down the throats of Caledonia.
Legend Robertin made his presence felt early. Consistent trips to the line and putting the gladiator centres into early foul trouble.
Caledonia took the first quarter by 9. 6 turnovers in the first half seemingly the Achilles heel. A bright start going 3-3 to begin with continued as going 1-10 from the field in the rest of the quarter.
A lively start for the Giants in quarter 2. Manchester went on a 7-0 scoring run in the first 2 minutes to cut a 9 point lead to a single possession game.
Caledonia recover and re-establish their lead with a plethora of fast breaks off the back of turnovers.
A stroke of genius from Nick Lewis. A cut inside which resulted in him backing down his defender. Lewis threw up a fadeaway that was deflected. The ball found its way back into the hands of the Giants spark plug who drains from three.
A high speed first half finished in favour of Caledonia. They found themselves ahead by the break.
A difficult start to the third quarter for Manchester. Their adversaries extend their lead to double digits and to as large as 14. Through the combined efforts of Anthony Roberson and Dirk Williams, the giants reduced the deficit to 9 in what was a swing in momentum.
Manchester started to plug away at the Gladiators, aggressive basketball consistently hammering and slashing into the paint in order to attempt to break down the home side.
Despite efforts from Manchester to narrow the lead. Consistent trips to the charity stripe by Caledonia undid the efforts of a slow paced, defensive oriented quarter.
A pair of threes from Kofi Joseph’s and Anthony Roberson ended a third quarter where the giants outscored their opponents 19-17 in the third quarter. Despite this, they still found themselves trailing by 10.
Dirk Williams connected from three once more. A three from the top of the key started the Giants off.
Consistent back and forth between both sides saw the Giants look to break down the Caledonia lead only for them to hold firm and reassert their lead. Both teams were going like for like down the stretch.
This continued all the way into the final few minutes as it seemed the giants were progressing and going nowhere at the same time.
This frustrating sense of purgatory wouldn’t end for Manchester until the time ran out as they ran out of time.
From his hot start at the beginning. Dirk Williams continued that hot streak all the way through the contest as he ended with a staggering 27 points on 50% from the field and 41% from three. Williams also led the Giants in steals with 3.
Head Coach Vince Macaulay said:
"Rough road loss for us, I think a slow start hurt, when we got going we were even and I thought we could push in. But Nick Lewis was out for the 2nd half and in the end we just didn’t have enough".
"We rest now and await a real dog fight against Bristol in Manchester on Wednesday".
The Manchester Giants will be looking to shake off this result as they face the Bristol Flyers at home March 15th.