Sport

‘Psychological boost’: Manchester Giants’ coach Jeff Jones delighted as side grabs first away win

By Phil Jones

Manchester Giants coach Jeff Jones highlighted the psychological boost a first away win will give his side after they beat Mersey Tigers on Friday.

The Giants were down by seven points at the half but outscored Mersey by 38 in the second to win 65-96 in the BBL clash.

And Jones was pleased with his team’s remarkable half time turnaround, lead by 24 points in the game for guard Stefan Gill.

“The road win was important, we’ve got it out of our system and from a psychological perspective it will really help us,” said the American.

“You go to Mersey – who haven’t won a game – and you don’t want to be the first team beaten by them.

“We’re not great on the road and our first 20 minutes looked like that, second guessing ourselves.”

Jones was unhappy with his side’s start, but praised the spirit they showed to find a way back into the game.

“It was pretty abysmal really, they were way up and we just didn’t convert, they played pretty tough and got on a little bit of a roll,” said Jones.

“We had a great third quarter, playing the way we are supposed to play, got active defensively and fortunately we got the win.

“We stopped worrying about things we couldn’t control, focussed on what we could do.

“We spend too much time worrying about what other people do, and sometimes forget that we’re not that bad.

“We have spells where we are very very good, and spells where we’re just as bad.”

The Giants face Sheffield Sharks in the BBL on Sunday, before hosting the Yorkshire side on Thursday in a BBL Trophy match.

Jones was pleased to give some players a break, and is looking to get new signing Nick George on the court next week.

“It was a win, not as comfortable as the score line made out, but we got everybody on the floor,” said the coach.

“With three games in seven days that was important, some guys got some rest and hopefully they’ll be ready for Sunday.

“We’ve pencilled Nick for some minutes on January 3, but he’s been out for about five weeks so we can’t afford to rush him back.

“He’ll add an awful lot of leadership and confidence to our guys – he’ll be an invaluable addition to us and I think he’ll raise everyone else’s game.”

The win sees the Giants leapfrog Sunday’s opponent into ninth place in the BBL at the midway point of the season.

And they will be confident of a win at the weekend having already beaten Sheffield by 12 points in September’s early season encounter.

Image courtesy of Jack Hinds Photography, with thanks

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