Manchester Giants coach Jeff Jones challenged Ben Eaves to continually repeat his star performance in the BBL victory over North West rivals Cheshire Phoenix.
The Giants stormed into a nine point first-quarter lead but Phoenix chipped away and took the lead in the fourth before Giants hit back to win 85-83.
Forward Eaves led the Giants with 20 points and 15 rebounds as they won their second consecutive match, but the coach admitted it was not pretty.
“He should be doing that as routine in this league,” said Jones.
“But that’s probably his best game in a Giants uniform, over a sustained period of 25-30 minutes.
“He has the ability and the athleticism, sometimes he doesn’t have the concentration or maybe the desire to do that – but he is a lot better than where he was.
“The game as a whole was ugly but they had to play that way to keep the game close.
“We have to get to a point where no matter who’s on the floor against us, we raise our level and our consistency – we didn’t do that well tonight.”
Veteran centre Mike Bernard was ejected from the game after mouthing off to the officials from the bench, but Jones had no argument with the decision.
But he did believe the official’s approach to interpreting the laws saw some decisions weighted in Cheshire’s favour.
“It’s just stupid, he’s the most experienced player we’ve got,” he added.
“He’s right, it was a three second violation but you’re dealing with guys that don’t want to be challenged and then they want to almost be the show.
“He went out of control and we didn’t control it quickly enough.
“It’s tough for the refs, Cheshire have four or five guys that can play and the refs aren’t going to foul them out and ruin the game.
“But there was no equality whatsoever. They had three team fouls in the first half, and I don’t care what defence you play, you’re going to pick up more than that.
“We got some calls in the end that helped us but we should have been getting those earlier and it hurt us.”
Bernard, still upset at the decision, tweeted: “All the three refs are ball watching and can not see three guys in the paint for Cheshire, camping for 10 to 15 seconds.”
The game also saw a debut for new signing Stuart Thomson, and Jones hopes to further add to his roster with former Great Britain international Nick George.
“Stuart didn’t do badly tonight, he didn’t do great, but he’ll maybe give Watts a rest on the wing,” said the coach.
“Hopefully if we can get Nick sorted out and healthy then it just gives us another quality player on the perimeter, that will help us.
“It’s a wait and see on his Achilles injury and medical assessments, it we get him then I see him here on January 3 against Sheffield.”
The win sees Giants move to five wins and ten losses this term, but stay tenth in the BBL table.