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Services, Punjab top group

G. Prasad

Uttarakhand, Railways, Kerala in quarterfinals

— photo: T. Singaravelou

VALIANT ATTEMPT: Punjab’s Jagdeep Singh (left) tries to prevent Tamil Nadu’s K. Harish from scoring on Tuesday.

PUDUCHERRY: Holder Services and Punjab topped their respective groups with an all-win record at the end of the men’s super league in 58th National basketball championship here on Tuesday.

Punjab scripted a 100-86 win over Tamil Nadu in a Group ‘B’ fixture.

The former played to a plan and tightened its defence to choke the rival attacks.

Tamil Nadu was forced to go for long rangers, but Harish came to its rescue and kept the scoreboard ticking. Still Punjab managed to open up an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Tamil Nadu players did apply pressure in the second and also came close to level the scores. Dilawar Singh, Gagandeep Singh and Jagdeep Singh netted with precision to help Punjab maintain the lead.

Defensive lapses

Tamil Nadu defence was found wanting, especially while collecting rebounds. Lokesh Yadhav, known more for his scoring prowess, was good at defence, but ran up fouls quickly.

Tamil Nadu, down 58-70 at one stage in the third, reduced the deficit to just five points at the end of the quarter, thanks mainly to Harish and Chandrasekaran for their timely three pointers.

The Tamil Nadu hoopsters looked threatening early in the final session, but could not keep the momentum going.

Two of its key players — Lokesh and Chandrasekaran — were fouled-out and that proved costly. Less than a minute to go, Punjab, with a 10-point advantage, looked set for a deserving win.

Meanwhile, in a thrilling Group ‘A’ match, Services edged out Indian Railways 67-63.

Uttarakhand, Indian Railways and Kerala have entered the quarterfinals.

Rajasthan and Karnataka will have to fight it out against qualifiers Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh respectively on Wednesday for a place in the last-eight stage.

The results:

Men: Super league: Group ‘A’: Uttarakhand 83 (Riyazuddin 22, Trideep Rai 17, Sridhar 12) bt Karnataka 72 (Srinivas 23, Antony Nixon 13, Tinu Joseph 13); Services 67 (Vipin 17, Sweeto Francis 16, Smithin Settu 13) bt Indian Railways 63 (Jasjot Singh 22, Birendra Singh 12).

Group ‘B’: Punjab 100 (Dilawar Singh 34, Gagandeep Singh 24, Jagdeep Singh 21) bt Tamil Nadu 86 (Harish 26, Chandrasekaran 18, Sukavaneshwar 10); Kerala 103 (Manoj 35, Vijobi Vakkachan 32, Bobit Mathew 14) bt Rajasthan 77 (Mahendra Singh 22, Harshwardhan 19, Mahipal Singh 14).

Losers knock-out: West Bengal 58 (Subash Bhattacharjee 12, Wasim Ahamed Khan 10) bt Jammu & Kashmir 35; Chhattisgarh 68 (Pratham Singh 38, Kiraan Pal Singh 16) bt Gujarat 28 (Harpal Singh 28, Machiret Nair 11); Jharkhand 73 (Abhilek Pal 18, Vikram Parmer 16, Mohammed Afrab 15) bt Haryana 44 (Pavmaan 20); Orissa 75 (Asish 24, Ashok 19) bt Puducherry 46 (Harikrishnan 15).

Women:

Losers knock-out: Puducherry 48 (Anjali 19) bt Jharkhand 33 (Astami Hemnram 10); Chandigarh 84 (Swetha Dutta 27, Santoshe 14) bt Orissa 58 (Jitin Mini 12, Beronika 11, Pradhan 10); Gujarath 34 (Aziza Kazi 11) bt Jammu & Kashmir 16 (Najesha 10); West Bengal 48 (S. Oraaon 15, R. Mandel 15) bt Rajasthan 31.

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