Giants Dethrone Kings, 138-124, in West Coast Classic

Story by Matt Potak
Photograph By: Gary McCullough

Game one of the Jacksonville Giants West coast road trip was high energy. The six time ABA Champions maintained resilience and came away with an impressive 138-124 win over the 23rd ranked San Diego Kings. The victory puts Jacksonville at a perfect 3-0 on the season.

“Getting better every game is a must,” said head coach Jerry Williams. “Once we learn to close out games better we are going to be a really good team.”

The Giants jumped out to a 61-46 halftime lead but started to fade in the fourth quarter. The Kings landed some big shots but were not able to make a successful fourth quarter comeback. Offensively the Giants were led by the strong guard play of Dylon Cormier and Bernard Nugent. Both guards combined for 48 points on the night with Nugent netting a team high 27. 

“We must continue to close the game better,” said Nugent, who was citing the fourth quarter team struggles. 

The Giants converted multiple 3-D possessions in the win. Nugent, Cormier, and reigning league MVP Maurice Mickens could not be contained by the Kings defense. Whenever the Kings would make a comeback the Giants would rely on the strong outside shooting from the guards and the powerful defensive presence inside from Elijah “Superman” Smith. On the perimeter, Jacksonville landed a season high 10 three point baskets in the win. 

San Diego, with the one-day signing of former NBA and Los Angeles Laker Ronald William Artest, Jr. (aka Metta World Peace) outscored the Giants in the fourth quarter. The Kings landed five three pointers during that time span. However, Jacksonville made key adjustments to maintain the lead. Coach Williams mixed up multiple defensive looks to keep San Diego from having more success. 

Giants vs Kings Game-box Highlights 

Star of the Night: Guard Bernard Nugent. Nugent scored a team high 27 points, while landing two three point baskets. San Diego had difficulties containing Nugent throughout the night. 

Turning Point: Jacksonville outscored the Kings 40-25 in the third quarter. The extended lead put San Diego in a large deficit, making a fourth quarter comeback very difficult. 

On Defense: Nugent rallied the team with multiple steals which setup 3-D possessions. The 3-D possessions resulted in numerous Giants points. Elijah Smith was also a heavy influence on the inside. Smith blocked six shots and led the team in defensive rebounds. 

Up Next: The Giants get right back to work on Sunday afternoon as they take on the San Diego Guardians. Tip-off for the Guardians game is at 2:30 p.m. (PST. 
Upcoming Home Games:  After the Giants return home from their West Coast trip, they will be in action on Saturday, December 21st, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. against the 305 Ballers.

The Giants will celebrate their 2019 championship with Champions Night on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Veterans Memorial Arena where they will host a championship rematch and have their championship ring ceremony and banner unveiling.
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