Plymouth City Patriots 103-96 Manchester Giants (30-30, 25-23, 27-15, 21-28)
Patriots – Williams 19, Hassan 19, Dusha 16; Giants – Fletcher 26, Williams 16, Green 13
BBL fans were treated to a thrilling encounter this Sunday afternoon as the Plymouth City Patriots faced off against the Manchester Giants at the Plymouth Pavillions. The game was end-to-end entertainment, with tremendous pace and energy and multiple highlights from the two teams.
It was an especially exciting match-up between two of the league’s top performing PGs this season – Elvisi Dusha and two-time MVP Rahmon Fletcher. Both playmakers put on a show with Fletcher scoring 26 points and dishing out 12 assists; whilst Dusha netted 16 points, 17 assists and eight rebounds. Antonios Williams flirted with a triple double – finishing with 21 Points, 9 Assists and 9 Rebounds.
The Patriots were back at home following yesterday’s win over the Newcastle Eagles – welcomed by a raucous crowd at the Pavillions. The Giants, despite seeing no BBL action in the last three weeks, went toe-to-toe with the home side through much of the game.
Head Coach Vince Macaulay said his team is expecting it to be a tough encounter – and it certainly was. The Patriots finished with six players scoring more than 13 points and would use an efficient third quarter to finally pull away from the visiting Giants.
The first quarter was incredibly entertaining – both teams playing free and scoring fast – combining for eight three-pointers in the opener and a total of 60 points. Rahmon Fletcher scored 13 points in the third quarter for the Giants, whereas the Patriots were bolstered by their big man Rashad Hassan with six points.
Anthony Roberson scored first for the Giants before Rashad Hassan took the ball right at his defender on the block. Isa Brandon came alive just minutes later scoring on a lefty drive and connecting on a three-pointer, extending the Plymouth lead to four. The Patriots stepped up their defensive pressure with James Hawthorne Jr using his disruptive length and lateral movement on two impressive sequences.
In the second quarter, Fletcher kept pouring it on for the Giants – scoring at will and finding his teammates for easy baskets. But the Patriots got a steady diet from their balanced offence. Dusha scored a couple of three-pointers and Williams showed his slashing ability and tremendous footwork.
The Patriots were on fire in the third quarter building a 14 point lead and spurring on the home crowd. Despite Fletcher continuing to score at will, an Isa Brandon three-pointer sparked a 12-2 run for the Patriots. The Giants struggled to find their mark in the third – not scoring a single basket in the final 3 minutes and 42 seconds.
In the fourth quarter, the Giants began to find some life again with scores coming from Williams and Legend Robertin. The opening minutes saw the two teams struggle with turnovers and sloppy passing, before things started to heat up again. This time it was the Giants on the offensive – outscoring the Patriots by seven points in the quarter. The veteran Patriots kept calm however – with backcourt dynamite Dusha and Williams scoring a three pointer and floater respectively.
The Patriots fans were ignited once again following a huge double clutch dunk by Williams. Although fans and players were undoubtedly concerned with the awkward landing, Williams appeared to be just fine.
The Giants were undeterred, Dirk Williams scored a layup and Nick Lewis followed up with a three-pointer and a floater of his own to bring the Giants within a single point. The Patriots, however, were able to hold on through some excellent defence. Antonios Williams, who has been witnessing a gradual return to full form, scored the final two baskets in the Patriots win.