Giants play hard against the Steam. Photography by Gary Lloyd McCullough.

Giants play hard against the Steam. Photography by Gary Lloyd McCullough.

An excitable night ended with a commanding win for the Jacksonville Giants. The #4 Giants improved their record to 18-6 with a convincing 115-92 victory over the Baltimore Hawks.

The crowd at the Veterans Memorial Arena saw many promising accolades from an improving Jacksonville team. The Giants showcased three ally hoops, five slam dunks, multiple long-range three-pointers, and an aggressive defensive effort.

“It was just great to be back playing in front of our home crowd,” said Giants coach Kevin Waters. “I was very pleased with our performance tonight.”

Jacksonville celebrated Military Appreciation Night in front of the large crowd. Throughout the evening, the Giants showed multiple photos of military service men, women, and veterans on the big screen in the arena. The game also featured Military pre-game festivities and a Military themed halftime show.

Military Appreciation Night also showcased 13th man Brent Martineau of Action News Jax. Martineau started the game and contributed two points along with two rebounds.

Baltimore jumped out to an early 22-21 first quarter lead. The Hawks applied heavy defensive pressure on the Giants, which put Jacksonville in a scoring drought early on. The Hawks were led by Jarwand Rheubottom and Dishawn Bradshaw. Rheubottom had a team-high of 17 points, in the game, while Bradshaw added 12.

The Giants made second quarter adjustments, outscored the Hawks 24-11 and went into halftime with a 45-32 lead. The trio of Maurice Mickens, Ed Horton, and Elijah Smith made the difference in the second quarter onslaught. Mickens and Horton went into the halftime break with 11 and 12 points, Smith added 8.

“We just kept playing tough,” said Smith.

The third quarter was all Jacksonville, as the Giants went on a 25-4 run to start the half. The Giants used a fast tempo offense and continued implementation of their full-court defensive pressure. Smith had two slam dunks while Mickens and Horton continued landing shots on the perimeter. Smith led the Giants with 19 total points. Mickens and Horton had 15 points each.

Jacksonville also had great play from recently signed Rashad Faust. Faust played dominant in the inside shooting game as the newcomer scored a season-high 14 points. Jerrod Tucker contributed with 10 points on the night.

Jacksonville will now prepare for an important two-game series with rival Daytona Beach on Sunday and Wednesday. Sunday’s game will be played at 5 pm in Nassau County and Wednesdays game will tipoff at 7 pm at St Augustine High School. The Giants lost to Daytona, early in the season, on November 21 and 22. Jacksonville will look for redemption in a crucial game with playoff seeding implications.

“We owe those guys,” said Smith in reference to Daytona Beach.

“We are looking forward to some big games to close out the season,” said Waters.