A GIANT Comeback! Giants Rally in Fourth Quarter to Secure ABA Final Four Bid
With the season on the line, the defending ABA National Champion Jacksonville Giants prevailed in a breathtaking 139-137 win, over the Baltimore Hawks, in the ABA Elite 8 Tournament held in Baltimore, Maryland. The Giants trailed by 18 points at one point and by 17 at the end of the third quarter. The victory advances the Giants to their seventh straight ABA Final Four.
Trailing 137-136 with 1:05 left in the game, Giants’ guard Larry Dumas landed a three-pointer to give the Giants a 139-137 lead. Baltimore had a late opportunity to regain the lead, but
Giants forward Calvin Warner had two critical block shots in the final ten seconds to secure the comeback victory.
“Securing a seventh straight Final Four appearance is a great accomplishment, but we still have work to do,” said Giants’ Head Coach Jerry Williams.
Throughout the contest, it was all Baltimore. The Hawks came out very physical and played strong against the veteran Giants. Nardie Bogues had 50 points for the Hawks and was landing long range shots all evening. Baltimore led most of the game and even had a 112-95 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Jacksonville used a full-court press to create several turnovers early in the fourth quarter, resulting in two 3D baskets and 10-0 run to open the final period.
The Giants were led offensively by point guard Maurice Mickens and captain Jerrod Tucker. Mickens was named the player of the game by Sports Radio America. Mickens had 36 points, with most coming in the second half as the ABA All-Star was held to only nine points in the first half. Mickens 27 second half points provided the spark for the Giants offense. Tucker finished the night with 29 points. Calvin Warner rounded out the top Giants scorers with 17 points.
“Tonight’s game was a true testament of how good of a league the ABA is,” added Williams. “If you want to win the championship you have to win games like this one,” said Giants’ Mickens.”
“Our hats are off to the home team Hawks that were near invincible shooting the ball, tonight. But the Giants played like defending Champions in the fourth quarter,” said Giants owner, Ron Sholes, about the team’s 4th quarter comeback.
The Giants will now play on Saturday in a final four match up against an opponent to be determined after Friday night’s game. If the Giants win Saturday they will play for their fourth ABA Championship on Sunday.