26 November 2012

KENYA : USIU Tigers claw Strathmore to earn semi-final spot

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Updated on 26/11/12 | By BRIAN AYIEKO
Thika Road based USIU Tigers on Sunday afternoon earned a place in the semi-finals of the Kenya Basketball Federation Premier League Play-offs when they beat their arch rivals and fellow students Strathmore Blades 75-67 in game two of the best of three series.
The win ensured that USIU proceed to the next stage after they overcame Strathmore 74-70 on Saturday avoiding a game three. The two teams were neck to neck in most parts of the match with the 1st quarter ending 19-19 and when the 2nd quarter resumed the situation was more of the same with USIU managing 12 points while Blades had 11 points to put the half time scores at 31-30 in favor of the Tigers.
The 3rd quarter saw both team push to the limit and Blades had a one point advantage at the end getting 19 points against the Tigers 18 points to put the final scores at 49-49.
The highlight of the match came in the dying minutes of the well attended match at the Nyayo Gymnasium. With just a minute to go Strathmore were leading their opponents 61-59 but in a quick turn of events Evans Leting who has been in exceptional form throughout the season was fouled and 1 of the ensuing 2 free throws awarded managed to bring the scores to 61-60. A few seconds later Leting was at it once more and he was fouled again and the free throw awarded brought the scores to 61-61.
Strathmore who could not afford to lose kept attacking and this bore fruit as they were also awarded 2 free throws after Samuel Odera was fouled with 5 seconds to go and the scores being level (61-61). In order to have a chance to play game three Strathmore had to beat USIU with 4 points or more in game two of the series but as the situation was if the free throws were capitalized then the time (5 seconds to go) would be done and the Blades would not have achieved this technical aspect so when Odera stepped up to take the free throws he deliberately faltered missing both the free throws and the match ended forcing an overtime to get the winner.
In the overtime, Tigers came out more tactical and with South Sudanese import Ramadhan Arou pulling the strings in attack they managed quick 4 points while Blades struggled a bit to catch up. In the end Blades suffered their 4th defeat to the Tigers and it seems their only way they would redeem themselves is when the two teams meet in the Kenya Universities Sports Association Basketball League. The win against Strathmore pits the Tigers against Mombasa based Kenya Ports Authority in the semis.

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