McKnight drags Guildford into play-off positions
GUILDFORD Heat player-coach Chad McKnight led his side into the play-off positions with an emphatic victory over bottom club Essex Pirates.
McKnight chipped in with 31 points to inspire Heat to a 104-88 victory and ensure the Surrey outfit made the perfect possible start to the New Year.
It was however, the Pirates who started the brighter with former Sheffield Sharks ace Randy George helping Essex into an early 7-2 lead.
But McKnight and Michael Martin, who finished the match with 20 points, then came to the fore to give Heat a narrow 26-24 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Again Essex came out of the blocks the stronger and snatched back the lead but a 20-4 burst - kick-started by a McKnight three-pointer put the hosts in control.
Heat were 56-37 ahead at the end of the first half and continued their dominance to lead by 23, only for the Pirates to hit back and narrow the gap to 14 going into the final period.
The visitors refused to throw in the towel but could get no closer than a 12-point deficit before a 15-4 run from the hosts killed off any resistance.