UoN Basketball continue perfect season against Trent

UoN Basketball M1’s season hit another high on Wednesday evening with a 81-69 victory over city rivals Nottingham Trent at Jubilee Campus Sports Centre. That win makes it five wins out of five in the BUCS Midland 1A division, and puts them top ahead of their opponents from Wednesday.

With both teams unbeaten after four BUCS games this season, this was always going to be an exciting game between two high quality sides, and so it proved in the first quarter. The visitors made the better start, taking a 9-6 lead after four minutes; causing head coach Mindaugas Janiska to call a timeout. The home side responded well, going on a 6-0 run that included their first three pointer of the game.

The Green and Gold move down to 3rd in BUCS overall, as Loughborough seemingly reassert the status quo.

Trent fought back well for the rest of the first quarter, regaining the lead before a foul on a home player whilst attempting a three pointer in the final seconds gave UoN the chance to end the quarter ahead, which they duly took. That momentum continued into the second quarter, with some great defensive play and good shooting helping the hosts extend their advantage to nine points, sparking a passionate crowd into life.

However, once again Nottingham Trent were able to stick with the home side, producing some good play of their own on both ends of the floor to narrow the deficit to three points, with UoN leading by forty points to thirty-seven. It remained a closely fought game in the opening stages of the second half. By the time of the first timeout of the third quarter the gap was just two, but it was following this that the hosts pressed home their advantage.

For the rest of the third quarter, UoN produced their best basketball of the match, playing with precision to open up a twelve-point gap that proved too large a gap for the visitors to bridge. Everything seemed to be going the way of the home side in the final quarter, defending well to get points on the fast break, getting favourable rolls when driving to the rim and even a circus shot with a few minutes to go to make sure of the win. It all proved a bit too much for Nottingham Trent’s head coach, who threw his whiteboard to the ground in anger at the final timeout.

The side in green and gold enjoyed leads in the high teens at points during the final quarter, but in the end a thirteen-point margin of victory had to suffice, although that will certainly suit UoN, who avenged their 80-70 defeat at this year’s varsity and overtook their city rivals in the BUCS standings.

Speaking to Greg Barnell, on his third year with the team, the excitement at the start to the season was clear, describing this team “as the best 1s team I’ve seen in terms of camaraderie” and said it was a great feeling to get a win over UoN’s biggest rival, and to go top in the process, whilst re-iterating the team’s aim of winning the Midland 1A title.

With team morale clearly high and confidence flowing, UoN are certainly in a great position to achieve that aspiration at the halfway mark of the BUCS season. Next up for the Green and Gold is a Trophy game against Sheffield Hallam at David Ross Sports Village on Wednesday 22nd, before returning to BUCS action with a trip to Oxford Brookes the following a week, and the return match away to Nottingham Trent in the final game before Christmas.

Alex Riggs

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