The days play at the Varsity Basketball tournament concluded with a fierce battle between the Vaal University of technology and the University of KwaZulu Natal, who were both fight for the last spot in the semifinal show down taking place at the Wits Old Mutual Sports Hall. VUT were the ones to take up the last spot, finishing fourth, setting up a meeting with Wits University after they narrowly beat UKZN 75-72.
VUT seemed to be a team on the decline prior to the game, starting the tournament off very well and then experienced a slump in the penultimate finals weekend. Fortunately enough for them they turn up in their last round robin game against UKZN. The men from Durban also experienced a drop in form at the worst possible time, which eventually saw them miss out on a semi-final spot on the last game.
The game started off with VUT getting the early advantage on the scoreboard, which set the tone for the rest of the fierce battle. The second quarter was much closely contested, but UKZN still trailed VUT. Nkosinathi Festile worked the centre of the court like a magician, feeding the ball on both sides of the arena, when VUT were on the attack. UKZN were often forced into committing fouls, when they tried to defend the waves of VUT attacks. Time eventually ran down, seeing the men from the Vaal going into the midway stage of the game leading 36-28.
The third and fourth quarters were highly entertaining but VUT were by far the better team, with Kolawole Ayodele bagging two threes and converting his free throws into points. In defence VUT also possessed a rock in Anthony Chukwubuka, who however wasn’t as effective in attack often losing possession at the crucial moments. That did not affect VUT in the end as they concluded the third quarter leading 61-42.
The final quarter saw a bit of revival performance from UKZN, with captain Thabo Sithole marshaling his troops for some form of come back. The men from Durban came close to coming back but they committed fouls at the crucial stages of the game that gave VUT an advantage. In the end the come back never happened as VUT held out to win the match up 75-72. This win then also meant VUT would meet Wits in Sunday’s semifinal.
VUT 75-72 UKZN
VUT: 4. Jeft Mokwena, 5. Nkosinathi Festile, 6. Thabiso Magakabe, 7. Kolawole Ayodele, 8. Jan Makgota, 9. Christian Manoke, 10. Anthony Chukwubuka, 11. Abel Kalubi, 13. Richard Lubasi
UKZN: 0. Lehlohonolo Mhlongo, 5. Zolani Khuzwayo, 6. Thobelani Msimang, 7. Thabo Sithole, 8. Siyethemba Ciliza, 10. Kenan Davidson, 12. Mesuli Zondi, 13. Jean Amisi, 15. Nkanyiso Ntombela, 23. Bubele Monakali
By S’fiso Nyawo