*Images by Adarsh Dadala Rao

Mumbai, 27th February 2016: The final four stage of the All India Inter-Zonal University Basketball Championship for Men 2016 concluded a short while ago at the indoor stadium in Mumbai University (Kalina Campus). Anna University, Chennai and University of Mumbai have set up a summit clash after beating University of Madras and SRM University, Chennai respectively. The event is being streamed live on www.indianinsanity.com.

University of Mumbai bt SRM University, Chennai

Sanket Kalbhor of Mumbai Univ goes high for the alley oop against SRM University Chennai.

Sanket Kalbhor of Mumbai Univ goes high for the alley oop against SRM University Chennai.

In the first quarter, Mumbai started super hot from the outside. Junior India player Samson Sandhu drained two threes, while SRM focused on routing their offensive through their talented post players Abhishek Rai and Susyl Paul. Soon enough, in addition to their perimeter play Mumbai started getting their interior offense flowing through Saleen Malik and Sanket Kalbhor. To make matters more difficult, SRM proved to be their own enemy missing multiple shot attempts, including an easy layup in transition. At the end of the first quarter Mumbai led 27-19.

The second quarter began with Mumbai continuing to be aggressive, outrebounding their southern opponents. SRM, meanwhile were sloppy on both ends of the floor, and their offense seemed rushed, resulting in avoidable turnovers. With his team in trouble, point guard Arun Kumar decided to take matters into his own hands, with partial success. On the other end, junior India player Samson Sandhu continued to consistently connect from beyond the arc, to ensure his Mumbai side maintained a healthy double digit lead. Both teams though were guilty of not using their bench strength. Mumbai 48-33 at the half.

In the second half, finally, SRM University began finding their rhythm and living up to their billing of being south division’s top seed. Experienced centre Shashank Rai, who had been completely negated by Sanket Kalbhor started finding his shooting touch. This was followed by SRM’s perimeter players V Gopal and Arun getting back to back layups, and soon SRM were within single digits, trailing 55-60 at the end of the third.

The momentum had now shifted southside, with centre Shashank Rai starting fourth quarter proceedings with a deuce in the paint. SRM were now within 1 point, 59-60, but some unfortunate no calls was all that was needed for Mumbai to go on another run to close out the match 86-76.  SRM rightly resorted to committing fouls in the last minute in a bid to extend the game, but by then, there was no denying the home team their place in the finals.

University of Mumbai (Samson Sandhu 30 pts, Sanket Kalbhor 23 pts & 15 rbs, Ashraf Siddique 20 pts) bt SRM University, Chennai (Shashank Rai 31 pts & 11 rbs, Arun Harikumar 15, Susyl Paul 12) 86-76 [27-19, 21-14, 12-22, 26-21]

Anna University bt University of Madras

Anto Bethle of Madras University in action against Muin Bek of Anna University.

Anto Bethle of Madras University in action against Muin Bek of Anna University.

After trailing in the first half, Anna University’s strategy of going big paid off with a hard fought 85-77 win over southern rivals Madras University. Coming into this game, Anna University was seeded 2nd from the south division, while Madras University was the fourth seed from the south. But the initial goings were mostly in favour of Madras, with point guard Anto Bethle running his team’s offense to perfection. For Anna University, Muin Bek and Vijay Parthasarathy started crashing the boards early.

The high scoring first five minutes saw Madras leading 16-13. Anna University’s perimeter players were guilty of jacking up shots and not feeding their forwards on the inside. Despite this, Anna University trailed by only 1 point at the end of the first quarter.

In the second period, Anna University continued to err from outside, and there was no guard play to tie it together for the team. As a result most of the offensive was generated off offensive putbacks. On the other end, Madras did a great job of spreading the floor and drawing out their opponent bigs, which in turn gave their slashers enough space to score in the paint. Meanwhile Anna University kept trying to push the tempo despite them being the slower team, leading to sloppy turnovers. Madras led 41-36 at the half.

Third quarter action saw a drastic change of strategy for Anna University, as they fielded four forwards and one point guard, with Muin Bek, who traditionally plays the 3 position, playing as shooting guard instead. The move worked like a charm, as the undersized Madras University were unable to score in the paint and kept settling for outside jumpers. Soon enough, Anna University was back in the hunt, with the game tied at 48-48 with 4:51 mins left in the third period.

The final ten minutes of action saw senior Tamil Nadu squad member Muin Bek continuing to shine from downtown, draining two threes which hit nothing but net. Madras University point guard Anto Bethle had a long distance bucket of his own to bring his now trailing side within 5 points of Anna University, with 3:23 mins left in the game. Anna University though stayed calm under pressure, with multiple players stepping up on both ends of the floor. Notably, four players had double doubles (i.e. at least 10 or more points and rebounds), as Anna eventually won 85-77.

Anna University (Muin Bek  23 pts & 11 rbs, Harissh M 20 pts & 21 rbs, Vijay Parthasarthy 20 pts & 11 rbs) bt University of Madras (Anto Bethle 22 pts, Sandeep D 17 pts, Surya A 12 pts, Justin Gnana Raj 12 pts) 85-77 [23-24, 13-17, 29-19, 20-17]

About the UBA Universities (UBAU) All India Inter-Zonal University Championship for Men 2016

UBA AIU Inter-Zonal University Championship

UBAU is the flagship University sports development programme being run by the Universal Basketball Alliance India Pvt Ltd. UBAU has acquired the rights to conduct the All India Inter-Zonal University Championship under the aegis of Association of Indian Universities (AIU). The top four teams from each zone: north, south, east and west qualify to the inter-zonal championship and are divided into four pools of four teams each. The matches are being played on a league cum knockout basis. The top two teams from each pool after the league stages qualify to the knockout rounds: quarterfinals, semis, followed by the finals.

This year the participating teams are:

Pool A

  1. [N-1] Punjab University, Chandigarh
  2. [W-2] Savitribai Phule University, Pune (Maharashtra)
  3. [E-3] KIIT University, Bhubaneswar (Odisha)
  4. [S-4] Madras University, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)

Pool B

  1. [S-1] SRM University, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
  2. [E-2] Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
  3. [N-3] Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra (Haryana)
  4. [W-4] Rajasthan University, Jaipur (Rajasthan)

Pool C

  1. [W-1] Mumbai University, Mumbai (Maharashtra)
  2. [N-2] Delhi University, Delhi
  3. [S-3] Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala)
  4. [E-4] Utkal University, Bhubaneswar (Odisha)

Pool D

  1. [E-1] Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur (Chhattisgarh)
  2. [S-2] Anna University, Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
  3. [W-3] Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur (Maharashtra)
  4. [N-4] Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritstar (Punjab)

For live streaming & more championship updates visit: www.indianinsanity.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/IndianInsanity1 Twitter: @IndianInsanity.

About Association of Indian Universities (AIU)

The idea of bringing together all the universities on a common platform emerged from the deliberations of a Conference of the Vice Chancellors of Universities convened by Lord Reading, the then Viceroy of India at Shimla in 1924. The Inter-University Board (IUB) of India was subsequently formed on March 23, 1925, with the view of promoting university activities, especially by way of sharing information and co-operation in the field of education, culture, sports and allied areas. The Inter-University Board acquired a legal status with its registration in 1967 as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. In 1973, it assumed its present name: The Association of Indian Universities (AIU). The membership includes traditional universities, open universities, professional universities, Institutes of National Importance and deemed-to-be universities. In addition, there is a provision of granting of Associate Membership to universities of neighbouring countries.

Vishnu Ravi Shankar
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