Chandigarh, 20th February 2017: The semifinals of the All India Inter-Zonal University Basketball Championship for Men 2017 concluded a short while ago at the indoor stadium in Chandigarh (Sector 42). Anna University, Chennai and Punjabi University, Patiala have set up a summit clash after beating University of Madras, Chennai and Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi respectively.

This prestigious Association of Indian Universities (AIU) Championship is being organised by Universal Basketball Alliance India Pvt Ltd.

Punjabi University, Patiala bt Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi 87-62

Dildar Singh of Punjabi University attempts an acrobatic lay up against the Jamia Islami University defence

Right from the tip off, Punjabi University gained complete control of the game. The team controlled the tempo by overpowering their opposition and grabbing all the rebounds early. Under the guidance of experienced coach Amanpreet Singh, the team planned well to stifle the opposition front court of Bhupendar and Sagar S by deploying the 2-1-2 zone defence, anchored by their ever so dependable centre, Guriqbal Singh – who gobbled down all the defensive rebounds and swatted away any attempts the Jamia team made in driving to the hoop. Riding on the back of Dildar Singh and Gurdit Singh’s scoring, Punjabi University maintained a healthy lead throughout the game. Point guard Gagan Deep distributed the ball well and often found his team mates open.

The Jamia team depended heavily on the scoring of Abhuday, who was bogged down by the Punjabi University defenders throughout the half. Battling against Guriqbal for position took its toll on Bhupender who seemed to run out of gas often.

Good ball movement, a high field goal percentage and stifling defence meant that Punjabi University ended the half leading 37-28 over Jamia Islamia University.

At the start of the second half, Sagar tried to take over the scoring for the Jamia team who fought hard to make a comeback. However, the trio of Dildar, Gurdit and Guriqbal seemed too much to handle for the Jamia team. The Punjabi team upped their defensive pressure and often forced the Jamia team to commit turnovers, which in turn led to easy buckets in transition.

Jamia’s Abhuday and Bhupender tried hard to fight back, however, found no support from the rest of the team. Midway through the 4th quarter, Punjabi University coach Amanpreet rested his starters and gave an opportunity to bench players. The game ended 87-62 with Gurdit Singh top scoring for his team with 23 points, while Bhupender had 16 for Jamia in the losing effort.

Punjabi University, Patiala (Gurdit Singh 23 pts, Dildar Singh 16 pts) bt Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi (Abhubay 17, Bhupender 16 pts) 87-62 [23-16, 14-12, 32-19, 18-15]

Anna University bt University of Madras 98-85

Hari Bhaskar of Anna University surveys the floor against Karthik of University of Madras

The second semi-final of the day was a repeat of last year’s semi-final – a Chennai derby! The match saw Chennai’s top teams, Anna University and University of Madras, go head to head as they fought for a place in the final.

With retribution on its mind after last year’s loss, the Madras team looked to establish its presence in the paint early, via centre P. Vijay. They also deployed a 2-1-2 zone to counter the size advantage that the front court of Anna University has enjoyed throughout the Championship. Anna University quickly adapted to this by depending heavily on their guard play. Led by A. Daniel’s shooting, Anna University scored off 3 pointers which forced the Madras team to open up on defence. Sensing this as an opportunity, they then tried to score from the inside through captain M. Harissh, who unfortunately couldn’t convert due to the defensive pressure applied by P. Vijay. Madras’s smothering interior defence led to the team’s many fast break points. However, with the 3-pointer as a neutraliser, Anna University stayed in the game and trailed by 1 at the end of the first quarter.

With the start of the second quarter, things changed for Anna University. The offense started flowing through their captain M. Harissh who now looked comfortable and drew fouls from Vijay which temporarily slowed down the Madras team. They also switched to a man to man defence and pressured the ball to force Madras University into committing turnovers. The early run and gun offence had now slowed down with each team now meticulously planning and executing plays.

After a slew of turnovers from both teams, Madras University captain A Aravind took over the game. He ensured the rotation of the ball around the perimeter and fed P. Vijay who went to work on Harissh again. On the other end, Anna University ensured that the ball reached their captain Harissh which resulted in a back and forth between Vijay and Harissh on the scoreboard. In a momentary lapse of concentration, Madras committed a silly foul with just one second left on the clock which meant Anna University headed into half time, 49-48, leading by a single point.

The start of the third quarter was what tilted the game in Anna University’s favour. Madras University faced a dry spell as they missed their first 6 shots. Anna capitalised on this and increased their lead on Madras University by passing up good shots for great ones. They scored on every offensive trip and Madras’ failure to score meant that the lead had now ballooned from 1 point to 14. They started fearlessly doubling Vijay in the paint and dared the Madras players to shoot, who missed their wide open attempts. Anna University outscored their opponents 32-14 in the quarter.

In the final ten minutes, Madras University attempted to make a comeback by driving to the hoop to draw fouls from the opposition. Anna University quickly reciprocated this strategy and got key Madras players P. Vijay, Sandeep and Surya in foul trouble. So much so that as the final whistle neared, key players from the Madras University team had been fouled out. In the end Anna had it easy, winning 98-85.

Anna University (A Daniel 27 pts, Harissh M 21 pts) bt University of Madras (H Heamesh 24 points, P Vijay 21 pts) 98-85 [25-26, 24-22, 32-14, 17-23]

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