Worthing THUNDER suffered their first home defeat of the season as they went down 88-80 to Manchester Magic in NBL Division 1 action on Saturday night.
The loss ends Thunder’s seven-game winning streak at the Worthing Leisure Centre.
Manchester were solid in all departments as they led for all but 15 seconds of the contest, However, Worthing Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth sees this loss as a positive.
Hildreth said: “This game was the one that would test us the most and see how far we have come as a team.
“Manchester won tonight without two starting players. As always, they were well drilled and they have players that can get the job done.
“However, this loss can be used as a positive.
“It’s a case of keeping our focus this week in training and getting ready for next week.”
American Milton Chavis led Worthing with a game-high 31 points, with Hank Rivers adding 18 points to go with 12 rebounds.
Ellis Cooper led Manchester with 25 points as Franc Garcia Garrido and Alvaro Alacron Lizaur served the second of their two-game suspensions.
After a close and free scoring first quarter, where Manchester held a slender 29-26 lead, Thunder attempted to hit their visitors, who had travelled nearly 280 miles from the north, with fast-break basketball.
But the Magic clamped down on Worthing’s intentions early and built a 41-32 lead early on.
The hosts responded with a 9-0 run, which was highlighted by a three-pointer from Josh Brown. Worthing’s good spell was halted by a strong finish by the visitors, as they took a 47-43 lead to the locker rooms.
Manchester had the better offences in the third quarter as Worthing resorted to long-range attempts. Magic outscored Thunder 24-13 in the third quarter to lead 71-56, and despite Worthing’s best efforts were unable to narrow the gap close enough to make it a contest.
Worthing aim to bounce back in the league, as they host Kent Crusaders next Saturday, tip-off 7:30pm.