Round 3 of the Varsity Basketball 2019 delivered an intriguing afternoon and evening of ‘ballin’ at Wits Sports Hall with UJ and VUT maintaining their 100% record and Tuks brought back to ground.
VUT GO THREE-FROM-THREE
The Vaal University of Technology tipped the afternoon’s action off by withstanding the challenge of UCT – who are still searching for the form which got them into the 2018 final.
VUT narrowly won their opening clashes so got out the starting blocks quickly, and took a comfortable 28-9 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter. UCT fought back well in the second, really pinning VUT back as they opted to press a lot more in their play, which resulted in the deficit being slightly trimmed. VUT, however, still enjoyed a 41-25 lead at the halfway mark. The final two quarters saw less attempts at the hoop, with the game flattening out quite a bit. When the final hooter sounded with the score reading 67-48, it was VUT who kept their 2019 tournament unbeaten record intact, with the 2018 finalists suffering a third successive defeat.
UJ JOIN VUT AT THE TOP OF THE TABLE
UJ made it three wins from three, with a well executed performance against UWC. The Orange Army went about their business flawlessly, defending well and as well as transitioning into attack as a unit. As a result, points came from different parts of the court.
Trystan Speck led his charges well, against an enthusiastic UWC team that lacked quite a bit of experience in their ranks. UJ were in control in the first quarter, with UWC only really posing a threat in the second quarter where UJ narrowly outscored them 8-6, as the teams went into the break with the Orange Army leading 28-17. The last two quarters thoroughly belonged to UJ, who came out all guns blazing to wrap up the 76-37 victory.
UKZN AND TUKS DELIVER A NAIL-BITER
UKZN and Tuks were then up next and brought about one of the most thrilling match-ups of the day. The game was a nail biter from start to finish, with both teams trading blows from very early on. It was however Tuks who started the better, enjoying a slender lead throughout the first three quarters.
UKZN however left the best for last, when they seemed to have more in the tank, in the final quarter. The fourth quarter was the only period in the game that UKZN were able to outscore Tuks but, significantly, it was decisive enough for them to sneak past their opponents 56-52. Tuks’ victory over Wits earlier in the day, seemingly took a lot out of the Tshwane boys’ legs, who really struggled to maintain their intensity, when it mattered in the final quarter. UKZN on the other hand executed their game plan well and showed great composure to come back and steal it at the end.
WITS RESTORE ORDER
Another team who needed a win (after the aforementioned shock) was Wits, who came up against NWU who’ve shown they are a worthy addition to Varsity Basketball. Fortunately for the Witsies, it wasn’t to be two losses in a day with the likes of Angelo Quinn and Briarly Klaasen running the show once more with great support play from Miguel Ferrao.
The second and third quarter was the Witsies strongest display, taking advantage of the Powerplays that were called, with Quinn looking untouchable with his three pointers. Wits really came out to make a statement and that is exactly what they did, with NWU only really putting up a fight in the final quarter, which was a little too late as the Witsies bounced back to winning ways with a commanding 82-45 win over the new boys.
By S’fiso Nyawo