Basketball: Manchester Giants 76 Sheffield Sharks 72

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It may be early in the season but the Sharks have already suffered a blow to their title hopes after defeat at Manchester Giants on Sunday evening.

Losses against clubs who are unlikely to challenge for top spot could prove crucial but Sheffield were undone by a big fourth quarter surge by the hosts before going down after a late fightback.

Sharks had won in impressive fashion in their season opener on Friday night at home against Durham Wildcats but were put on the backfoot from the start by the Giants.

A 6-1 end to the first quarter gave Manchester a 20-16 advantage.

Sheffield worked hard to lead 28-22 midway through the second quarter before going in at the interval 32-30 to the good.

And Atiba Lyons’s team took a 50-46 into the final period. However, Giants put together a decisive 18-5 run to lead 64-55 and maintained the nine-point gap into the final two minutes.

Sharks cut the margin to 71-69 on an Allen Payne two but Stefan Gill’s basket with 18 seconds to play proved to be the crucial score.

Sheffield’s next match is Friday, October 3 against Plymouth Raiders at the EIS - tip-off 7.30pm.