19 August 2013

UGANDA : Tough Warriors hold nerve to beat KIU Titans

Kampala. Friday night unfolded in almost predictable fashion, like a movie where the script is followed to the dot. Riham Warriors set the tone at the Lugogo MTN Arena.

KIU Titans never gave up, pushing the champions to the limit. They were in it, as expected, only for Warriors to come through 75-70 and close in on the Airtel National Basketball League leaders.The champions, playing their first game since finishing fourth at the Fiba Africa Zone V Club Championships, were quick out the blocks going 6 for 7 beyond the arc with their opening shots.

Warriors finished 6 for 20 but more importantly they did just enough to improve to 10-2. Only co-leaders DMark Power and UCU Canons, both 11-2, have better records.
They also completed the double over KIU, adding to the 58-46 first round victory. The difference is probably in the fact that one team knows how to win while the other has an idea but not the method.

Tanzanian Sylvain Yunzu was 2 for 2 from downtown in the first period in his best game since joining Warriors. Jude Ochen, Ivan Enabu and Brian Gumisiriza joined in the clinic earlyEven when the shots dried up, coach Emmy Samanya’s team was relatively comfortable, holding an 11-point lead for much of the game. It’s that margin (51-40) they had going into the final quarter.
Sam Gombya’s 12 points and 11 rebounds kept Warriors in control. Enabu (pictured) chipped in with a game-high 17 points and Yunzu sunk 10. As Gombya’s legs gave way so did the ability to rebound.
Then came the stirring comeback. Edwin Kateregga with a game-high 15 points and Chris Omanye’s 12 pulled KIU level at 68-up with 2.04 minutes to play.
“We just got away from had been working for us,” Samanya said. “Our defensive players were all in foul trouble and that hurt us.”

KIU’s old ghost of lacking that killer instinct resurfaced. They didn’t score again until 33.3 seconds to the final buzzer when Henry Mwinuka shot two free throws. The university side, sixth at 8-5, wanted to win, always do and tried to. They just don’t know how to, just yet.

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