The Punjab University Chandigarh team. Copyright Ekalavyas.

The Punjab University Chandigarh team. Copyright Ekalavyas.

North and South Zone toppers Punjab University Chandigarh and Hindustan University Chennai validated their top billing to set up a mouth watering finals clash at the Inter Zonal All India University Championship (M) 2013-2014 underway at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

In the first semifinal game earlier this evening, Punjab University beat statemates Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar 93-74. GNDU Amritsar, which had earlier beaten last year’s runners up University of Madras in the quarterfinals, was neck and neck with PU Chandigarh at the end of the third quarter trailing only by one point (65-64). However, in the final period PU pulled away to a hard fought 93-74 win.

In the second semis, Hindustan University edged past Jain University Bangalore 87-81 in a pulsating match. These two teams had played previously at the South Zone Championship and Hindustan had won that game 84-80. So both these teams were familiar with each other’s playing styles and relative weaknesses. This match would turn out to be the most intense and high quality spectacle so far in this tournament.

Hindustan led 20-16 at the end of the first quarter.  But the next two quarters would end with the scores being tied (42-42 & 49-49). Neither team was allowing the other to surge ahead. If Hindustan’s Nigerian point guard Agu scored, then Jain’s backcourt trio of Kaif, Vinoth and Yashas countered. The initial few minutes of the final quarter will be etched in every spectator’s memory for a long time. It was one of the finest displays of long range shooting seen by this reporter. For every three pointer Jain scored, Hindustan matched them. The two opposing teams went for a combined 6/8 (this is an estimation) from deep in the first few minutes of the last quarter!

However, in the final five minutes, point guard Agu took over yet again with a 5-0 run, which included two clutch freethrows, to seal the dramatic win. Agu’s 40 points was a sizzling mix of crossovers, layups, freethrows and impossible threes. His mesmerizing style of play reminded us of the recently retired 6ft scoring machine from the NBA Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers (and we say this with all honesty). Without doubt, Agu will be the player to watch out for in tomorrow’s finals scheduled for 3:30pm.

Semifinal Results (7/2/14)

1)      Punjab University Chandigarh 93 (Kuldeep 25, Ravi 24) bt GNDU Amritsar 74 (Navalpreet 16, Guriqbal 13)

2)      Hindustan University 87 (Agu 40, Paul 15) bt Jain University Bangalore 81 (Md. Kaif 24, Vinoth 20)

Schedule for 8/2/14

8:30am Third Place Match GNDU Amritsar v. Jain University Bangalore

3:30pm Finals Punjab University Chandigarh v. Hindustan University Chennai

Gopalakrishnan R
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