Sport

Manchester Giants’ Callum Jones warns of complacency after sluggish win over Mersey Tigers

By Phil Jones

Manchester Giants guard Callum Jones admitted his side were complacent in the win over BBL whipping boys Mersey Tigers that kept alive their play-off hopes.

Mersey cut a seven-point half-time deficit to just two mid-way through the third period, but this sparked the Giants into life and they eventually ran out 67-93 winners.

The Giants’ play-off hopes rely on beating London Lions next Friday and Jones said only a third-quarter intervention from his coach, and father Jeff, turned the game.

“I think maybe a few people were thinking too far ahead to next week,” he said.

“They played hard and we maybe came out a little bit complacent, it took us a little bit of time to really get into our rhythm.

“But in the third quarter we had a time out and really pulled together – you can’t afford to be complacent in this game.”

Callum’s brother James led all scorers with 24 points and Ben Eaves returned from injury to record a double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.

“Those two definitely stepped up, Ben really settles us down on defence and gives us a presence inside with his activity.” added Jones.

“So against a team like Mersey where they don’t really have any big guys, he was able to get loose and have a good game.”

The Giants’ preparation had not been ideal with several players suffering from flu and forward David Aliu dislocating this thumb in practice.

Their luck did not change in the game either as vertigo-sufferer Callum was limited to just eight minutes of action.

“I had a little episode in the first quarter so didn’t really play too much,” said the 27-year-old.

“But coming down to crunch time like that you’ve just got to have as many people ready to step up as possible and I think everybody did that.”

The Giants lie ninth in the BBL, one win behind London Lions who currently occupy the final play-off spot.

A win against London next week would give the Giants the season head-to-head over the Lions, should the teams finish level on points.

But first the Lions face Surrey Heat on Sunday with the Giants camp hoping the fifth-placed side can do Manchester a favour.

“I’ll be watching from the very start to the very end and I’m pretty sure the rest of the guys will be,” said the guard.

“If Surrey win it’s back into our hands – win both our remaining games and we’re in the play-offs.

“That London game next Friday is potentially going to be huge, so hopefully we make it huge and get the win.”

Picture courtesy of Jack Hinds Photography, with thanks

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