O'Reilly shows worth to Raiders as Giants are brought crashing down
After his Plymouth Raiders side sent out an impressive message to the rest of the BBL Championship with Sunday's 105-74 home win over Manchester Giants, head coach Gavin Love said: "I'm surprised at how dominant we were, but I was impressed."
The Pavilions outfit kept up their unbeaten start to the campaign as they swept aside the Giants with a powerful performance, headlined by Colin O'Reilly.
The Irish forward produced a terrific display with 28 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals to put his team on the road to victory.
"We had prepared really well for the game, so I was quietly confident. Our defence was excellent. We were smaller than Manchester, but we out-hustled them and played defence how I asked them to.
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"That led to a lot of easy baskets and allowed us to put 105 points on the board."
Guard Drew Lasker, who finished with 14 points for the Raiders (six rebounds and three assists) said: "It was a big win for us.
"We know Manchester are a tough team, so we knew it was going to be a better test for us. We had a great week in practice and it showed on the court. We've just got to make sure we keep getting better."
Fellow guards Jeremy Bell and Michael Ojo consistently forced open the Giants' front door with 20 and 16 points respectively, while O'Reilly intelligently sneaked around the back to demoralise Manchester. O'Reilly's former Cheshire Jets team-mate Matt Schneck also managed to claim a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds.
The Raiders were without their captain Anthony Rowe, who is expected back in their next contest on Friday week against the Jets. He praised the work done by summer signing O'Reilly.
Rowe said: "Colin is a pass-first guy. He's very smart, gets into the right areas well, and other guys were looking for him. He had easy shots as a result.
"Superb," Rowe added. "Colin can score 20 to 30 points on you and you don't even know it's happening."
O'Reilly will have been far happier on Sunday than he was seven days previously, after a full Raiders debut to forget in the 108-86 home win over London Lions.
Rookie forward Javarris Barnett also started to look more at home in the Raiders' starting line-up this weekend. He finished with 12 points, albeit on 6/15 shooting, six rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes.
Rowe added: "It was a much cleaner win than the win against London. We executed really well.
"I didn't think we played that great defence against London last week. This time our defence was brilliant. I know we scored 105 points, but to hold a shooting team like Manchester to 74 points is a good achievement."
The Raiders never looked back after earning a 17-4 lead early in the first quarter.
Lasker said: "Coach [Love] does a great of motivating us and making sure we don't relax, and play the game for 40 minutes and don't take our foot off the gas.
"Although we were up pretty big, it's only our second game of the season, so it was important we maximised what we get out of it."
Love added: "We had good ball movement on offence. There were a few minutes here and there I wasn't happy with, but overall we passed the ball well and knocked down shots. I was pleased – it was a clinical display."