|Saturday – January 25th, 2014|
Play by Play
(*note that all four teams below have already qualified to Level 1 and these matches are being held for the sole purpose of granting the two winning teams the right to choose their pre-quarter final opponent from level 1)
Girls: Kerala 60 (Nivya Raj 20, Anusha 19) bt Maharashtra 53 (Shruti 21, Neha 12) [21-11, 13-17, 13-11, 13-14]
Team India. Copyright Ekalavyas.
An inspired India came out all guns blazing to surprise the much higher rated Angola, ranked 15th in the world, to win a close contest at the world class Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium at Goa University, Panjim. This second league match from Group B was played between two teams that had earlier beaten Guinea Bissau. With this morale boosting win, India has now topped Group B and will play against Group A’s second placed team Cape Verde in the semifinals tomorrow.
To be fair and to put things in perspective, the Angola side that is on display at these Lusofonia Games is the national u-25 team. Most seniors from the Angola side are busy with other playing assignments in their domestic league. Another dynamic that has to be factored in is the vociferous home support that India enjoyed throughout this match. The near capacity Goan crowd that gathered was busy cheering for India and jeering Angola in equal measure.
Buoyed by home advantage and their own inner drive, India left everything on the floor and produced highlight plays virtually on every possession whether on the offensive or defensive end. The intent and focus was visible among the Indian players at the very start as Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi was heard furiously pumping up his side in the pregame huddle at the centre of the court.
India led right from the opening tip and never relinquished the lead for the rest of the match. The very first points that India scored were through 7ft Centre Amrit Mann’s transition slamdunk. This was an indicator of things to come. Soon enough, veteran point guard with the magical touch Sambhaji Kadam, got his playmaking going with multiple no look passes to his teammates after cutting into the heart of the opposition defense. India Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and small forward Yadwinder Singh soon joined the scoring with some peerless outside shooting. Not to be left behind, young guard from Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) Pratham Singh made some tough layups by fearlessly driving to the basket. By halftime, India led by a whopping 18 points!
The second half saw the inevitable fightback by the never-say-die Angola side. They clamped down on the defensive end and repeatedly kept getting to the foul line on offense. Their aggression had the Indian frontcourt of Amjyot Singh and Amrit Mann in serious foul trouble. Angola, in fact, enjoyed an overall rebounding advantage of 58% (as against 42% for India). By the end of the third quarter, India’s double digit lead had been cut down to just 8 points. That’s when India Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi stepped up.
Leading from the front, Bhriguvanshi kept India ahead with his aggressive scoring in the paint despite hard contact. Bhriguvanshi had multiple three point plays to his credit and shot an impressive 64% from the field. He also had 12 defensive boards to record a match winning double double of 23 points, 12 rebounds as well as 6 assists.
Late in the fourth quarter, with 34 seconds left in the match, Angola hit a clutch three pointer to bring India’s lead down to just two points. To make matters worse, Vishesh fumbled the ball near the half court line to give away possession to Angola. With the game clock winding down, Angola had a chance to tie the game but missed a jumpshot as well as an offensive tip in. India then converted a freethrow in the dying seconds to win a nerve wracking game 78-75.
HE SAID SHE SAID- I
“They (Angola) are a great team. They have been up among the top teams in the world for a long time. I told the guys that this will probably be the only time when we’ll get to play a big international tournament in India, where we get a home crowd like this. We wanted to take care of business here and that’s a first step. Now we want to go for a medal and aim the highest we can. But we’ll enjoy this win, at least for tonight.”
– India’s Head Coach Scott Flemming, after the win.
“We didn’t bring the main team. The senior players aren’t here. This is the u-25 team.The main senior players are busy playing in the national league. In any case our focus now is to put this match behind us and win the semifinals against Mozambique. We will take it one step at a time.”
– Angola’s Head Coach Manuel Sousa
HE SAID SHE SAID- II
“I hope so. We won this one! There are some things we could have done different in the end, but we made some big free throws and we got the stop in the end. So I’m not going to complain. The bottom line is that we got the win and did what we had to do to win the game. We went out of our zone and played man to man towards the end. Our zone defense has been really good for us here (in this tournament), but we didn’t want to give up the easy three, so I thought playing man to man defense helped us in this win. We knew that Angola is too good a team. Ideally with an 18 point lead at halftime you’d love to win the game by a margin of 30 points. But we knew that’s not going to happen against a team like Angola.
I’m still not sure if we are now the team to beat, but we are willing to take that reputation. We are taking it one game at a time and now we have to win two more (semis and finals).”
– Coach Flemming on whether India has learnt some lessons from its losses at last year’s FIBA Asia Championships where India led against different oppositions at halftime only to lose in the end.
“It leads by 15 points against a team ranked 15th in the world!”
ekalavyas posts maybe u shud do some reseach. angola sent U-23 team to goa not national team ranked 15th.
poor journalism. making falseReply
I agree with the above. Angola not sending their national team, so saying they are “powerhouses” and ranked 15th is just to make India’s victory look better.Reply
In this tournament:
India – national teamReply
Mozambique – national team
Guinea-Bissau – national team
Macau – national team
Cape Verde – national team, minus foreign-based players (effectively a B team)
Angola – Under-23 national team
Angola is putting up a great show too.Reply
Thank you Mark and Joe for your comments. We’ve just spoken to the Angola Coach and he has verified that the Angolan team on display is its u-25 team. However, please understand that it was Angola’s decision to send its under-25 side and this wasnt forced upon them. We are simply stating facts: As recent rankings stand, it is a fact that Angola is ranked 15th in the world.
We value your feedback and look forward to your support! May the best team win this tournament! Wishing everybody peace and goodwill 🙂
The Ekalavya Posts TeamReply
Its a great initiative of a live commentary of the Indian matches. Those who are missing watching it live can get updated because of this commentary. Today it was a great show by Indian men team against Angola. Though Angola is much high ranked team than us we put on a solid game,show since the very beginning of the game. I am so very proud of this young Indian basketball team.Most of them are under 25yrs of age. If they keep working hard under the guidance of Coach Scott Fleming this team has bright future.Reply
Nobody said anything was forced just that your info is wrong. Its u-23 team not u25. Get it correct. It was Indian senior team vs Angolan junior team u-23. Your readers have to correct youReply
Angola senior team is 15 not juniors. You were not stating facts u are distorting them.Reply
Exactly. Angola chose not to send their senior team because they did not want to embarrass the other teams. So, while it is correct to state that the Angola senior team is ranked 15th, it is not correct to maintain that this was an amazing victory for India because of the difference in ranking, because the Indian team would not have won if Angola had sent their national team.
The Angola U-25 team is NOT ranked 15th in the world, so the ranking should not have been mentioned at all. The ranking is only relevant when senior national teams are playing. So, as stated above, it is misleading unless you also state to your readers that Angola did not send their 15th-ranked senior team.Reply
Nonetheless, a good win for India. They play Cape Verde in the semi-finals.Reply
Dear Mark & Joe
We greatly value and appreciate your feedback. As accepted by us in our previous comment, we spoke to the Angola Coach after the match and he has confirmed to us that the team that played today is the u-25 team with some senior players missing.
We request both of you to be a little patient and wait for our Match Summary to be uploaded. During a live play by play commentary, due to time constraints, it is not possible to verify each and every fact as the match is in progress.
A live play by play commentary should mainly be viewed as a means to keep readers updated with the current score and plays of the match. A live play by play commentary should not be confused with match analysis which always comes later after more research and fact checking.
Our only intention with the live play by play commentary is to keep readers updated on the latest scores and plays. Once we upload our match summary, we are sure you will find that all the necessary facts have been reflected without any so called “distortion” as is being stated by you. We will also upload the detailed statsheet of the match so that more discerning readers can simply look at the numbers for themselves and form their own opinion about the game.
Hope our detailed response has calmed any frayed nerves! Once again thank you for your comments and look forward to your continued support!
The EP TeamReply
Let’s go team india .With 1 on the best coach scoot FlemingReply