BBL Cup Group Stage North:
Manchester Giants 92-86 Newcastle Eagles (16-22, 43-51, 70-68, 92-86)
(Giants: J.Steel – 19, M.McKnight – 18, J.Anderson – 14; Eagles: W.Person Jr – 20, D.Defoe – 12, T.Vinson – 12)
Cheshire Phoenix 84-77 Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks (24-15, 45-40, 66-61, 84-77)
(Phoenix: N.Wright – 22, T.Okereafor – 21, L.Bradley – 19; Rocks: J.Hillsman – 18, J.Johnson – 17, A.Fraser – 16)
The North-West of England was the place to be for basketball this evening, as the Manchester Giants and Cheshire Phoenix both put on a show for their home crowds, as they defeated Newcastle Eagles and Glasgow Rocks respectively.
It was the Giants who secured victory first, as they inflicted the Eagles’ third straight defeat this season – the first time since the 1998/99 season that the league’s most decorated franchise have lost their first three games of a season.
Despite being eight-points in front at half-time and cruising, the Eagles were outclassed in the second-half as the Giants, led by Josh Steel (19), put on an offensive masterclass as all five starters dropped double-figures.
Tyrik Armstrong was particularly impressive at both ends of the court as he dropped 14 points and made six assists, but also crashed the backboard seven times to pick up rebounds for the Giants, while Dan Clark came closest to a double-double for the home-side as he dropped 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Eagles’ scoring was also shared across the roster as six players dropped ten or more points, with Wesley Person Jr scoring a game-high of 20 points, but the game was arguably lost by Newcastle due to their seven more turnovers than their opponents, who capitalised on them for ten points.
Meanwhile, 38 miles south-west in Ellesmere Port, the Phoenix entertained their home crowd with a hard-fought victory over the Rocks, who will be left ruing their first quarter display which saw them head into the second nine points behind – the largest margin of the game.
Namon Wright and Teddy Okereafor were the two players to get the crowd on their feet the most, dropping 22 points and 21 points respectively, while Levi Bradley also contributed a significant portion of the scoring with 19.
There were a large number of positives for the Rocks to take home with them though, including Jaycee Hillsman’s impressive 18-point ten-rebound double-double, as well as Jordan Johnson (17) and Alasdair Fraser’s (16) hard-work having played the full forty minutes.