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Birmingham Knights game preview

Birmingham Knights vs Manchester Giants

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2014 06:38pm
Fordbridge, Solihull
By Birmingham Knights
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Manchester Giants  – Sunday 19th January. 5:30pm Tip-off.  Wright Robinson College.

Last time we met – Knights 79 – 89 Giants. 21st December 2013. North Solihull Sports Centre.

The Knights were 9 points up with less than 8 minutes remaining, but the Giants pulled off an 19-0 run to steal the victory.

Brent Benson led the Knights with 22 points, with Martyn Gayle supporting well with 19. The Giants had a balanced offense with 18 points from Rob Marsden, 17 from David Aliu, with David Watts and James Jones both adding 16.

On Sunday, the Knights start their inaugural BBL Trophy campaign by travelling to Wright Robinson College to take on Manchester Giants, in the First Round. The Trophy offers a brief respite from league action for the knights, after last weeks 95-73 loss away to Glasgow Rocks, as they look to progress to the next round. The Knights have had some of their most positive performances of the season against Manchester, where despite defeats in both of the previous meetings of the teams, Knights were arguably favourites in both going into the 4th quarter of them both. A victory for either team would see them line up in the quarter finals of the tournament, which sees current EBL teams Leeds Carnegie, Bristol Academy Flyers, Essex Leopards and Reading Rockets join the 12 teams of the BBL.

Manchester come in to Sundays game after suffering defeat against Surrey United last Saturday (the victory was Surrey’s first this season), a game in which the Giants gave up 40 points in the final quarter, just 14 less than Surrey had scored in the first 30 minutes.

21 year old Knights Guard Kieran Mills, missed last weekend’s game at Glasgow and is looking forward to getting back on the court on Sunday, hoping to build on the Knights recent efforts in training “Things aren’t going as well as we would like them to. But with being a brand new team in the league, we knew there would be a lot of struggle involved. Training is going good, we are trying to make a few changes e.g. Our defence and communication. That should help us get the win that we are gunning for. “

Knights coach Paul Douglas feels that the Knights have a great chance to progress to the Quarter-finals after recent performances against the Giants: “We played very well against Manchester last time around and it was our ability to execute down the stretch that hurt us. They players will be looking to turn that around this Sunday but this will by no means be an easy game. Manchester is a very good team and we will have to be at our best for 4 full quarters to get that elusive win. They will be looking to avenge the defeat to Surrey against us but at the same time i think they realise that we will not be an easy push over for them so it should make for an exciting game for the fans”

Player to Watch: David Aliu – Power Forward – #14

The Veteran forward was instrumental in both of the Giants victories against the Knights this season and is averaging 25.5 points in those fixtures. Aliu is the league leader in 3 point %, shooting at an excellent 49.2% from beyond the arc. Before joining Manchester Giants in 2012, Aliu was a member of the treble-winning Mersey Tigers side of 2011.

Photo: File pic

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