College basketball: Collingwood the kingmaker?

basketball-net-Emma-WernerBy

A quick glance over the college basketball fixtures last weekend would suggest little drama: with the top three facing sides with losing records, easy victories were expected for all before the potential championship decider between league leaders St Mary’s and second-placed Ustinov A. Fortunately for us fans, competitive sports are never as straightforward.

Indeed, both Marys and Ustinov A, so far unbeaten, came up against much tougher opposition than expected. Forced to play with a depleted squad, Grey proved to be difficult opponents.

Two of St Mary’s starters were side-lined and their absence was sorely missed. Mary’s usually clinical offence stagnated and they struggled to score, although they did manage to reproduce their trademark defensive efforts and kept themselves in the game. Grey held a one-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but a crucial go-ahead three-pointer sparked a 7-0 run from Mary’s as they finally pulled away to victory, winning 31-24.

Ustinov A likewise had a much closer game than anticipated against a spirited Hild Bede team. The Ustinov offence was not as lethal as usual, but they did lead for most of the game and eventually secured a 46-32 victory.

Just as the top two teams cleared what they perceived as the last hurdle before the showdown next match-day, a new and very significant one emerged. Second in the league last season but bizarrely woeful so far, Collingwood finally managed to recall their university-level players into the team. Against a Ustinov B side with only one defeat to its name, this revitalised version of Collingwood only needed a half to put the game to bed.

While the Ustinov lead guard kept the game interesting with his uncanny accuracy beyond the three-point arc, the Collingwood bench coasted the rest of the game and earned a double-digit win.

Collingwood’s comprehensive defeat of Ustinov B represents the latest twist in the battle for basketball supremacy in Durham. Judging from this performance, they are certainly capable of ending the unbeaten streaks of Marys and Ustinov A when at full strength: this is particularly important because neither have played Collingwood yet. W

Whoever wins the Marys-Ustinov clash next match-day will still become the outright favourite to win the title, but how they will perform against Collingwood (or indeed which Collingwood team they will be playing against) will be vital in the race to the championship.

Photograph: Emma Werner

2 thoughts on “College basketball: Collingwood the kingmaker?

  • Actually the game between Ustinov A and Hild&Bede wasn’t close as you wrote :), for 39 minutes Ustinov was up by 20 points, in the last minutes Ustinov just stopped to play aggressively because the game was already done and let Hild&Bede score 6 points in a row.

    Reply
    • Oh I saw the end of the game, ‘closer than anticipated’ really means ‘you didn’t win by 50 points’

      Reply

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