FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2016
Story by:Matt Potak
Giants Top Previously Unbeaten Chicago 100-93
Jacksonville Giants defeat Chicago Steam, fourth in the league, 100-93. Saturday’s victory puts Jacksonville at 12-4 on the season. For two weeks the Giants break attendance records for the ABA. The final attendance count was 8,987. Giants celebrated “Faith and Family Night” in front of the record crowd.
“We are very thankful for our fans,” said Giants head coach Kevin Waters.
A combination of positive play and fan support provided the city of Jacksonville and the Giants much to celebrate over the past two weeks. The Orlando Magic NBA franchise reached out to the City of Jacksonville about a NBA D-League team in the area. The “request for proposal” to the city is an exciting consideration as the Giants climb the ABA power rankings and as more and more fans attend games at the Jacksonville Veteran’s Memorial Arena.
“Hopefully the Giants’ efforts (and results) the past six years can make a difference and put Jacksonville on the NBA map,” said Giants Owner Ron Sholes. “I’m a firm believer that Jacksonville can and will support an NBA team in the future, but it will take continued growth and consistency to do so.”
The Giants jumped out to an early lead of 45-35 in the first half. Full court pressure defense by Jacksonville kept Chicago off balance. 35 points was the lowest scoring first half for the Chicago Steam so far this season. Bernard Nugent, guard, lead Jacksonville’s defense with seven steals. His spark was necessary to Jacksonville’s control of the game.
“It was a great win for the team,” said Nugent, who finished the game with 14 points. “We played very good and look forward to playing [Chicago] again.”
Jacksonville’s offense relied on three key players: Ed Horton, Jermaine Bell, and Jerrod Tucker. Combined, the trio scored 31 out of the team’s 45 total points for the first half.
“We are still learning the offensive system,” said Waters. “We are headed in the right direction.”
Jacksonville kept an aggressive play style for the third quarter. The Giants continued their strong defensive game plan. Coach Waters changed their defensive scheme repeatedly to keep Chicago guessing. Waters employed a combination of two-three zone defense and full-court man-to-man presses. Chicago had issues handling the Jacksonville’s physical play.
“The defense is the strength of our team,” said Waters.
Chicago made a late fourth quarter run and kept the game competitive to the end. Midway through the fourth quarter, Chicago went on a 20-5 run which cut Jacksonville’s lead to a margin of only four points at 79-75. Veteran point guard, Maurice Mickens, landed multiple three-point baskets to maintain the lead. Bell and Elijah Smith added scores late in the game to solidify victory. Tucker finished with 18 points, while Nugent and Horton finished with 14 points each.
Jacksonville will resume play at Edward Waters College tomorrow afternoon in a rematch with Chicago.
“We want a sweep,” said Waters.
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