Friday 6th March 2020
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 92 Manchester Giants 80
A gruelling spell of seven games in the month of March began with the B. Braun Sharks easing to a 92-80 win over BBL bottom side Manchester Giants. The Sharks welcomed back Mackey McKnight, and he, along with a trojan display from Rob Marsden, saw the home side to a 6-5 record and a move up to sixth in the BBL table.
Sharks: Lewis, Cashaw, McKnight, Marsden, Koch.
Giants: C Jones, J Jones, Hudson, Arques, Fullah.
The Sharks set off like a train as three Nick Lewis triples took the score out to 16-2. That sparked an 11-2 run from Manchester on David Ulph’s slam and the sharp-shooting Ingus Bankevics drew them to within three at 19-16. Bennett Koch and Bouna Ndiaye found success from the line but Ronalds Elksnis’ trey concluded a close first quarter at 23-19.
The Giants momentum carried them into the lead at the beginning of the second quarter. The dangerous Bankevics got the hot hand from downtown on three occasions as Manchester went up by 31-32. The physical presence of Bennett Koch hauled the Sharks back into the game and an exquisite piece of ball movement, ending in a Nick Lewis trey concluded a 12-2 run with the score at 43-34. A prone Rob Marsden caught a thumb in the eye but the Sharks soldiered on in his absence to end the half at 53-39.
New signing Allie Fullah hit six early points for Manchester but an ‘and one’ play from Koch stopped the rot. A fired up Marsden then took over, upping the Sharks lead to sixteen on his drive and Connor Cashaw’s triple continued the momentum at 70-53. It was fitting that the hard working Marsden ended the third quarter with a mid-ranger at 74-56.
Manchester, much improved in recent weeks, refused to lie down and took the final quarter by 18-24. McKnight drew the biggest cheer of the night for a huge three at 77-59 and three shots from the line by Cashaw saw the Sharks dominant at 85-66. Ulph (4) and Arques (4) made Sharks hearts flutter but Nick Lewis, who shot six out of seven from beyond the arc, drained yet another to seal a comfortable 92-80 win on the night.
It was a delight to see Mackey McKnight back in a Sharks jersey, pulling the strings in typical fashion, and dishing out 8 assists to boot. Bennett Koch, as so often this season, took a lot of physical play but coped admirably on his way to 19 points on 66% shooting. As standard, Connor Cashaw filled the columns with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. It was a superlative shooting night for Nick Lewis. He compiled 26 points, with 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals on an eye-catching 6 out of 7 from deep. The MVP award went the way of Doncaster-born Rob Marsden. A second quarter eye injury spurred the Yorkshireman to 19 points with 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks on 9 of 14 shooting as his grit ensured a clean sweep in this season’s Roses battles.
Nate Montgomery spoke of overcoming the veteran shooters from the Giants and the challenging game that awaits on Sunday when Newcastle Eagles are the visitors to Ponds Forge.
Next home game
B. Braun Sharks v Newcastle Eagles, Sunday 8th March 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 4pm tip off.
Pick Three Ticket Offer: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pick-3-ticket-sale-tickets-95024594119