Photography by Gary Lloyd McCullough.

Photography by Gary Lloyd McCullough.

The Jacksonville Giants came away with another impressive win against a tough Texas Sky Riders team. Despite early struggles, the Giants took a commanding lead in the fourth quarter which resulted in a 109-93 victory. Jacksonville improved to 21-6 overall while Texas fell to 9-9.

The win was the final regular-season game of the 2015-2016 season at the Veterans Memorial Arena. Jacksonville accomplished a 5-1 overall record at the Arena this season which includes breaking the ABA attendance record in back to back weeks during the month of January.

The Giants were led by strong play from Rashad Faust. Faust led the Giants with 20 points and also contributed nine rebounds. Faust’s aggressive inside play gave Texas defensive issues all night. Guards Chris Blake (19 points) and Maurice Mickens (18 points) both rounded out the top scorers for the Giants.

Another notable highlight was the play of former ABA MVP Jermaine Bell. Bell had a double/double with 16 points and a team-high of 19 rebounds. The veteran had six block shots and kept Texas in a deficit for a majority of the game.

Despite the loss, Texas played a very competitive game and actually took a four-point lead late in the third quarter, before the Giants rallied to take a 20 point lead late in the game. Jacksonville used a full-court press to slow down Texas’ offensive strategy. Sky Rider Guard Jerry Dancer had 37 points and Terry Williams had 20 points respectively in the defeat.

Tonight’s game featured former Jacksonville Jaguar Defensive back Rasheen Mathis as the Giants’ 13th man. Mathis, who recently retired after 13 seasons in the NFL, showed great basketball skills in the win. Mathis contributed with two points and one steal. Mathis is a Duval County native who attended Englewood High School in Jacksonville.

“Jacksonville is always home,” said Mathis at halftime. “This was my first time playing organized basketball in a long time. It was a lot of fun.”