Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Chennai, 15th January 2015: The exciting and high octane Jain University, Bengaluru is through to the semifinals of the UBA All India Inter University Basketball Tournament for Men 2014-15. Jain University defeated the team from Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur. The start of the match saw an error-prone Jain team turning the ball over repeatedly while on the other end, the Raipur team relied heavily on its point guard, Vinay J. and their hot shooter, Kiranpal Singh. Raipur led 20 to 17 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Jain continue its high risk, high reward transition offense to much success. Led by their athletic guards, Kaif Zia and Yashas R., Jain went on a scoring run with multiple highlight plays, including some incredible alley-oops. Their preferred 10-second offense resulted in Jain University tying the game 38-38 at halftime. Kaif Zia did a great job of shutting down Raipur’s star player, Ajay Pratap Singh, who was not able to get many touches during the first half. Raipur’s Kiranpal Singh, however, kept his team in the game through his offense – he had 31 points in the game.
In the second half, Jain continued to push the tempo at unbelievable speed and captured their first lead of the game. Jain’s Visu Palani piled on the points in the third quarter – he ended the game with 24 points. His teammate Kaif Zia put up a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Jain’s lead quickly moved into double digits and they ran away with the game in the second half leaving little hope for a Raipur comeback. Jain’s point guard registered a valuable double-double with 14 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the 3-point line and 11 assists. The game turned into a blowout with Jain University defeating Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University 91-76.
The second quarterfinal of the evening was between the home team, Sathyabama University and the top seed from the north, Punjab University, Chandigarh. In what was probably the match of the tournament so far, Sathyabama emerged winners to qualify for the semi-finals defeating Punjab University 96-88. It was a very closely contested encounter that saw 15 lead changes. There was little difference between the teams in the first 3 quarters as the teams remained under 5 points of each other at all times.
Punjab’s size and length bothered the Sathyabama team, as they were heavily outrebounded (48 to 33 in team rebounds). Punjab took maximum advantage of their offensive rebounding with 26 points coming from second chance opportunities. However, Sathyabama’s ball movement and outside shooting kept them right in the game. Guard Vimal Raj from Sathyabama had a great shooting night, converting 7 of his 15 shots from 3-point range – he finished the game with 34 points. Sathyabama’s centre, Rakesh, kept battling in the paint against Punjab’s imposing frontline and contributed with 23 points and 8 rebounds.
Sathyabama kept running their set plays and finding the open man, breaking down Punjab’s defense as the game progressed. At the end of 3 quarters, Sathyabama had a 1-point lead 73 to 72. In the fourth quarter, Sathyabama put their foot on the accelerator and slowly started to increase their lead. Punjab’s point guard Kushmeet (26 points) and their centre and best player in the game, Ravi (31 points), managed to keep the game close until the final minutes, when it was too little too late. Sathyabama hung on to a slender lead and nailed clutch freethrows to finish the game with a 96-88 victory.
“I’m really happy to be here at the UBA All India Tournament, the world’s biggest basketball championship. I enjoy watching the sport.” said Bollywood actor Evelyn Sharma who was in attendance for the quarterfinals game as the Chief Guest.
Jain University, Bengaluru (Kaif Zia 26 points 12 rebounds, Visu Palani 24 points, Yashas R. 19 points, Vinoth 14 points 11 assists) bt Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur (Kiranpal Singh 31 points, Ajay Pratap Singh 21 points 12 rebounds, Krishna P. 10 points) 91-76 (17-20, 21-18, 25-11, 28-27)
Sathyabama University, Chennai (Vimal Raj 34 points, Rakesh 23 points, Prem Kumar 14 points) bt Punjab University, Chandigarh (Ravi 31 points 14 rebounds, Kushmeet Singh Atwal 26 points, Aditaya 12 points 12 rebounds) 96-88 (22-21, 23-24, 28-27, 23-16)