20 September 2009

UGANDA : KIU back in play-off contention after Riders victory

by Sande Bashaija

Saturday results
KIU 82-59 Riders
Rhino 93-78 Bushcourt
Berkley 81-51 Gulu
Kings 73-58 Diamonds
Nabisunsa 69-27 Amazon
Bucks 80-58 Crane High
Wednesday at YMCA
Livingstone v MBC Rocks 5pm
Amazon v Leopards 7pm
Falcons v Ndejje 8:30pm

For the opening five minutes of the final session, Knight Riders couldn’t score. And that was the turning point in an MTN-Fuba League game they seemed destined to wrestle from Kampala International University (KIU)’s grip.

Riders had a terrible start, losing the first quarter 8-23 and the second 20-19 but stepped up the gear, going into the last session trailing by only six points (51-57).
That score pointed to a very close finish and maybe victory for Riders, who had worked unbelievably hard to reduce a hitherto seemingly unattainable deficit.

But KIU turned on the style and stretched the lead to 66-51 within just two minutes. With four minutes left, Nimrod Kaboha’s university side had established a comfortable 70-52 lead and it was all over for Riders despite the continuous cheers from a small crowd at YMCA Wandegeya. Final score: 82-78, a result that confirmed that Riders won’t play in the men’s topflight next season.

It was their 11th loss from 13, which leaves them second-bottom on the 10-team table. For KIU, who had their worst start to a season this year, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

From fighting relegation a few weeks ago, KIU are now back in play-offs contention. “We are back in the picture. All my players have returned from holiday,” coach Kaboha revealed.
“We just have to keep focused, and who knows we could play in our first play-offs this season.” The Kasanga-based side moved up to fifth with 19 points but still face a daunting task to pip Miracle, Ndejje and Marines to the last play-off slot.

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