Cheshire Phoenix suffered a heavy defeat against their fiercest rivals, the Manchester Giants, at the National Basketball Performance Centre.
Ben Thomas’ men made just 31% of their shots from the field, 11% from three-point range and were out-rebounded by 38-to-52 on their way to a 30-point blowout loss. Manchester’s star player Dan Clark missed the game through injury, while the visitors were without their starting center, Michael Ochereobia.
The Nix actually started off the better side as they worked themselves a five-point lead going into the second quarter, however once Martaveous McKnight put the hosts in the ascendancy with a make from deep at the 6:46 mark, the visitors ceded all control of the fixture. Despite trailing by six with eight minutes remaining in the first half, the Giants went into the break ahead by 47-to-33 after Cheshire’s defence collapsed, allowing their North West rivals to score 31 points in the second act of the game.
Phoenix’s defence gave up 16 points in the first five minutes of the second half, while the offence was only able to muster up five points in the same period. Manchester’s half-time lead doubled at the end of the third quarter, as the hosts added 25 points, whilst limiting the Nix to just 11 in the penultimate quarter.
Cheshire started the final frame by scoring eight unanswered points, keeping the Giants scoreless for the first three and a half minutes, however it was a case of too little, too late from Thomas’ team as the hosts soon re-captured the momentum and got themselves back into rhythm. The Giants closed the last five minutes well as they outscored the Nix by 12-to-7 and cruised to an emphatic 91-61 triumph over the Nix.
The Giants did not have the most efficient shooting performance, as they only made 44% of their shots from the field and 34% from behind the arc, however their superior rebounding allowed them to have 75 attempts on the night. Manchester’s bench also out-scored Phoenix’s by 32-to-16.
In the absence of Dan Clark, it was the American guard Tyrik Armstrong who paved the way with a 24-point performance, to which he also added eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. McKnight (17 points, 7-14 FG) and Will Saunders (16 points, 6-10 FG) also chipped in with double-digit points.
Namon Wright top-scored again for the Phoenix, as he finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes. Radwan Bakkali was one of the bright sparks in an otherwise off-colour performance by the Nix, as he tallied eight points and three rebounds on 57% shooting.