Manchester Giants 82 (24,48,63) (Bailey 16, Watts 14, Aliu 13)
Glasgow Rocks 92 (21,46,67) (Davis 22, Robinson 20, Murray 17)
The Rocks remain on the fringes of the top four in the BBL Championship after an 82-92 road win at the Manchester Giants. For the Giants, it is their first home defeat in three, with their last defeat coming in November, also to the Rocks.
Player/coach Sterling Davis led the victors with 22 points, while Donald Robinson had 20 and Gareth Murray added 17 points and 9 rebounds. Devan Bailey led the Giants with 16 points. The Rocks used a strong second half performance after the Giants led through much of the first.
The opening exchanges were tight as the teams were tied at 5, until a quick 5 in a row from the hosts set the tone for the first period, Bailey capping that run with a three-pointer. Murray responded in kind to narrow the gap, but a 9-2 run followed for the Giants with Nick George scoring 5 of those for a 19-10 lead. That was where the lead peaked, as the Rocks responded immediately with a 9-2 run, with a Brice Fantazia score making it 21-19 inside the final two minutes. The Giants led 24-21 after the opening period.
The Giants initially extended their lead in the second stanza, to 31-25 on David Aliu’s basket, but that didn’t last long. The Rocks came storming back with a 9-0 surge to take the lead themselves at 33-36 with Murray hitting another triple and Sterling Davis scoring 6 points. But the hosts regained their footing as James Jones immediately tied the teams up again with a three-pointer, and they scored the last two baskets of the half in the final minute through Aliu and David Watts to lead 48-46.
The third quarter started in a similar fashion as Sterling Davis’s triple gave the Rocks the lead back before Callum Jones responded and the teams ended up tied at 56 midway through. They were tied again at 58 before the Rocks made a crucial run: in a minute and a half they scored 8 points in a row, with Robinson scoring 5 of those and capping the run with a triple, to force the hosts into a timeout at 58-66 with a little over two minutes to play. Aliu’s three-pointer, against his former club, in the last 20 seconds made the score 63-67 and set up a tense final period.
The Giants came close early in the fourth as Watts hit a three-pointer and Bailey added another one soon after to make the score 69-71. But EJ Harrison kept the Rocks ticking over, scoring 5 in a row as a triple made it 73-78 with five minutes to play. And that run became a 12-0 surge to settle the game as they held their hosts scoreless for three and a half minutes with 4 points each from Davis and Robinson, and a Fantazia triple giving the Rocks a double-figure lead at 73-87 with three minutes to play. The Rocks saw the game out from there, with Murray’s triple in the final minute keeping it in double-figures.