Magic survive scare from Spinners to keep title hopes alive

  Sunday, March 12, 2017

Local derbies often bring the best out of teams and the latest encounter between Manchester Magic and Lancashire Spinners certainly brought some of the best out of the visitors on Sunday evening.

Having lost the previous night to bottom of the league Westminster Warriors, the Spinners found themselves down 46-32 at the half and staring down the barrel of another defeat. Magic had even gone deep into their bench in the second quarter, with Hamad Ali scoring an impressive 15 points on perfect 7/7 shooting.

However, a stunning comeback led by point guard Jack Hudson and the sharp-shooting Mark Rangeley overturned the deficit as Lancashire poured in 31 points in the third quarter to tie the game 63-63.

The fourth quarter was a much tighter affair, and although Spinners started the period the stronger, Magic finished it better. Duane Morgan epitomised the home team’s renewed composure, making all 10 of his free throw attempts in the final period to seal an 81-75 victory.

Morgan finished with 19 points, supported by 15 each from Ali and Simon Anumba, while Lee Goldsbrough had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Rangeley led Spinners with 20 points, while Hudson had his own double-double of 16 points and 11 assists.

Magic coach Paul Middleton commented: “I thought Jack Hudson did a great job, in the second half particularly. Rangeley came up with some big shots in the second half but I think we gave him those opportunities and he’s too good to turn those opportunities down.

 "They’re not a bottom three team when they come here because they’re desperate to get a win. It’s kind of a level playing field. But we’ve got to be more consistent.

“For us as a team, we have to take that as a bad performance. In the end we came up with what we needed to come up with, but we’ve got to find some consistency in defence before we even talk about what we do on the other end – that’s got to be our main priority.”

On Saturday, Magic used a dominant third quarter of their own to defeat Bradford Dragons 80-64. Morgan led all scorers with 23 points, while Goldsbrough had another double-double, this time racking up 11 points and 12 rebounds.

After a first half that saw 18 lead changes and neither team ahead by more than four points, Bradford felt the loss of Ricky Fetske after the break. The big man had been the visitors’ main scoring threat before suffering a head injury during a collision with Magic’s Simon Anumba in the second quarter.

With three league games remaining, Magic sit in third place with a 19-4 record, just two points behind Reading Rockets and Team Northumbria, with both teams on 20 wins and three losses.

Magic’s next game is against Hemel Storm on Saturday 18th March at the Amaechi Basketball Centre, followed by a trip to Derby Trailblazers the following day.

Report by Graeme Roberts


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