Manchester Giants make best start to top-flight season in nine years

Head coach, Lloyd Gardner, believes his side can still improve despite their resounding 111-73 BBL Cup Group Stage win over Newcastle Eagles on Friday night. 

Martaveous McKnight led scoring with 20 points for the visitors, who dominated from the first whistle, shot 46% from three and had all 12 players on the score sheet. 

Tyrik Armstrong continued his MVP level campaign with 14 points and 8 assists against an Eagles side ravaged by injury and COVID absences, who, with this result, exit the competition they won last year in the first round. 

The win sees a rejuvenated Giants achieve their best start to a campaign since 2012 and progress to the quarter finals – in top spot should results go their way on Sunday. 

Gardner said: “Obviously really pleased, it was a depleted Eagles team, a tough situation for them, injuries, COVID, but at the end of the day our challenge is to beat the team that’s on the floor against us. 

“I thought that mentally we were locked in and we were really pleased with our performance from that side. 

“It would have been easy for us to not play hard but mentally we were prepared, we were ready and we played really well.”

The victory takes the Giants record to 6-2, just 12 months into owner Jamie Edwards’ ambitious project to reinvigorate an organisation that had lacked direction. 

Gardner added: “I think we’ve still got to get better, still lots of areas we as a collective want to improve but obviously job number one is to make sure we are one of the teams that qualify forward. 

“We did that, it’s great that we’ve got a home draw in the next round. 

“We’ve just got to look at ourselves and see who we get drawn against and go from there.” 

Giants forward Francois Lewis, among the summers’ recruits who have sparked an uptick in form, said: “I think it was a great step forward for our team. 

“I’m getting better every game, learning the sets, learning to play with the guys. 

“We’re jelling pretty well. The team is growing together so I think that’s the biggest positive that we aren’t even where we want to be and we’re playing that well. 

“I feel like we have so much upside individually and also as a team.”

The Giants will be aiming to take their stellar cup performances into the league season opener against the Sheffield Sharks next Friday. 

Image Credit: Dave Moore

Related Articles