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Basketball: Magic deserts lacklustre Rocks

WHATEVER MAGIC the Edinburgh Rocks produced to beat Manchester 79-72 in the Championship's Northern Conference on Saturday night, it deserted them at Sheffield Arena yesterday where the Giants took revenge to beat them 82-60 in the National Cup semi-finals.

The Giants will meet Sheffield Sharks at the same venue in four weeks time after the holders beat Milton Keynes Lions 73-67 in the first of two ragged, uninspiring semis. All four teams showed the effects of playing the previous night, before the depth of the two favourites inevitably proved decisive.

The Giants' ugly clash with Edinburgh - John McCord took a swing at Phil Handy as Ted Berry and Ronnie Baker squared up - was illuminated only by Tony Dorsey's blend of power and finesse for the Giants. Handy, Baker, and Travis Conlan's domination of the back court eclipsed Berry, while McCord was a peripheral figure.

"We're playing like a team that went to bed at 2.30," Yuri Matischen, the Sharks general manager, said as three-pointers from Iain McKinney and Michael Payne eked out a 38-33 half-time lead over the Lions.

Sheffield made the journey back from Bracknell the previous night on a high after Terrell Myers scored a three-pointer from 35 feet to snatch a 83-80 win at Thames Valley Tigers.

The Lions also won on Saturday, but whereas six first quarter three-pointers had been the foundation for their 94-86 win at Birmingham, it was the Sharks' long range game which destroyed them yesterday. Payne hit four and Myers three to keep the Sharks out of reach.