BBL Championship: Manchester Giants cruise to victory over Cheshire Phoenix; BBL Cup semi-finalists confirmed

BBL Championship: Manchester Giants cruise to victory over Cheshire Phoenix; BBL Cup semi-finalists confirmed

The Giants put in a commanding performance in the north west derby to beat Phoenix 109-81 in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Friday night.

Tyrik Armstrong led the way for Manchester with 13 points, 10 steals and seven assists, while Namon Wright contributed a game-high 28 points for the Phoenix.

After a cagey first quarter, the Giants broke clear in the second with 35 points to Cheshire's 11, before building an 81-58 lead entering the fourth.

From there, they added 28 points to their haul to cap an impressive win, which saw them finish the weekend top of the league with three wins from their opening five games.

Six teams have only played one game apiece, while second-placed Sheffield Sharks have played twice, third-placed Newcastle Eagles three times and the Phoenix have played their fourth game of the season.

Six Manchester players, including Armstrong, finished with double digits in points - Eugene Artison top-scored for the Giants on 14.

The BBL Cup approached its conclusion at the weekend as the four semi-finalists were confirmed.

The London Lions coasted to a 100-68 victory in their quarter-final matchup with Sheffield behind Lorenzo Cugini's game-high 28-points, Dirk Williams' 22 and Jordan Williams' 14.

Cugini and Dirk Williams' combined for 34 of the Lions' 46 first-half points before London reeled off a 27-9 third quarter, by the end of which Jordan Williams had 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

The Lions will now meet the Leicester Riders in the semi-finals after last season's league champions beat the Phoenix 85-84.

Reigning BBL MVP Geno Crandall came alive for the home side in the second quarter as he drained 13 of his 24 points to bring the Riders back to level terms by the end of the half, while former Leicester favourite Namon Wright hit double figures for Cheshire to make sure Ben Thomas' side were tied at the end of the second quarter.

Ben Mockford, back in Phoenix colours, found Leicester to be a happy hunting ground once again as he racked up 21 points by the end of the third quarter - all of which came from beyond the arc - on his way to 30 in total, and it was behind his scoring that Cheshire were able to take a slender lead into the final 10 minutes of action.

The Phoenix looked to be able to keep the Riders at arm's length in the opening stages of the fourth quarter, but a four-point play by Conner Washington had the deficit down to two with seven minutes to play, before both sides traded big blows right up until Crandall teed up Jubril Adekoya for the winner in the final seconds.

Sunday saw Glasgow Rocks edge the Bristol Flyers 95-90 in overtime, while the Giants beat the Surrey Scorchers 95-92 to set up the second semi-final.

Ali Fraser produced an MVP performance with 26 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Glasgow, and Mike Miller led the Flyers with 22 points.

The teams posted 21 points apiece in the third quarter to set up a tense finale with the Rocks leading 64-63.

The Flyers looked seconds away from the win, only for Jonny Bunyan to score a game-levelling three-pointer to send the fixture to overtime. Glasgow eventually kicked on in the extra period to advance to the semis.

Martaveous McKnight starred for Giants in their win over Surrey as he contributed a team-high 18 points, while Tyrick Armstrong finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. For Scorchers, Lemar Hamrick scored 19 points in a game-high performance.

Manchester, who led 52-47 at the half, entered the fourth up by just three points, before holding on for the win.

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