The University of Lincoln Men’s 1sts have won their first cup game of the season beating the University of Birmingham’s Men’s 2nds in the Basketball Midlands Conference Cup.
The first quarter’s scoring started with something that became very common throughout the game, a free throw. It was scored by Ali Almadeh who continued to cause problems for the Birmingham defence whenever he was on the court. He soon went on to get his first field goal after weaving through the opposition defence following a fantastic interception and pass from his teammate Brad Wood.
Lincoln were piling on the pressure and looked confident taking shots from anywhere. Almadeh scored three points for his team after shooting just right of the centre of the three point line. Lincoln looked good offensively but their pressing of Birmingham throughout this quarter forced the opposition out of the danger area and into taking long shots. Birmingham’s Ken Li managed to pick out the basket for three points once during this period but the chances for Birmingham were limited.
Birmingham kept Lincoln in their sights as they came back into the game in the second half of the first quarter and they made use of their chances and made it 21-10 to the home side.
However, Lincoln had Birmingham’s number as for every chance that the visitors created Lincoln would have a response of their own and for the last two minutes of the first quarter Lincoln continued extending their lead.
The fact that Lincoln have taken on new players this year didn’t show as a lot of points were earned by build up play involving the whole team. One example was just before the end of the first quarter where Jack Ellis’ shot rebounded off the backboard and into Germantas Kneita’s hands who then touched it across for Ellis to finish.
The second quarter saw much of the same despite Birmingham coming out with intensity in the first minute scoring the first two points of the game and making it only 27-14 to Lincoln. However, Lincoln’s clinical finishing and Birmingham’s struggle to convert their free throws led to Lincoln extending their advantage to 36-23.
If either team could have taken full advantage of their free throws, then they would’ve been in a great position by the end of this quarter. Ellis proved to be a key player by converting both of his free throws and contributing with field goals. The second quarter ended as 42-26 as Ellis scored a field goal with two seconds to go after performing a pick and roll in the opposition’s third.
Birmingham’s third quarter was an impressive scoring display and they outplayed Lincoln in the first half of the quarter. Despite this, through having Ellis and Almadeh on the court at the same time Lincoln were not without field goals for long. Benny Setordezi also converted his free throws and there was no looking back from there as contributions from Wood, Aldameh and Setordezi helped Lincoln to a 16 point lead going into the last quarter.
The score stood at 66-40. Nerves were evident when Lincoln went two minutes of the quarter’s ten without scoring. Even when Dom Newham ended the dry spell Birmingham came right back by scoring two points. Lincoln were showing signs of tiredness from the fast paced pressing game that they seemed to start off with and Birmingham were showing no signs of giving up. The visitors brought their score up to 52 points with two minutes to go.
Birmingham kept coming at the home team and Lincoln weren’t converting their chances where they could. Despite this, they managed to see the game out and finish with a convincing win. The game ended 72-56 to the University of Lincoln Men’s 1sts.
Following the match we spoke to Ali Almadeh, Point Guard of the University of Lincoln Men’s 1sts.
He said: “It was a good start to the cup. I think this is the first cup game we have won in five years or so.
“We’ve got several new players and we played better. We started moving the ball and getting better shots. We used to depend on one player last year and we’ve played a team game this year.”Tweet