By Siddarth Sharma, UBA Columnist
Chennai, 25th February, 2017: Mumbai Challengers overcome a spirited effort by Haryana Gold in overtime as they race away to a 106-103 win. While Mumbai were averaging over 120 points per game coming into this contest, they found points harder to come by against Haryana and it took a game winner by Jagdeep Bains for them to pull away for a 106-103 win.
Haryana Gold came in with a 1-3 record as they looked to keep their playoff dreams alive against the Mumbai Challengers who were sitting comfortably with a 3-1 record. Jaskaran was leading Haryana over their past two games, averaging 15 points and 15 rebounds per contest.Mumbai stared off with a lineup of Inderbir Gill, Alex Scales, Jagdeep Bains, Jimmy Scroggins and Nikhil. They faced Haryana’s Prakash Mishra, Jaskaran, Birender, De’Sean Mattox and Eban Hyams. Haryana were without Yadwinder Singh, who missed the game owing to a family emergency.
Indian star actress Kajal Aggarwal was in attendance for the game. Speaking of the UBA, she said “I think it’s great that we have different options in sports in India as it makes it very interesting for the youth to choose their passion. Basketball is a fabulous sport. It’s nice to see sports besides cricket get attention. I’m going to really learn this sport and I hope that all the fans here do the same. I think all of us should truly encourage different sports in our country. It’s great to be here with all these amazing players. I can’t wait to see who will win.”
Prakash started things off for Haryana with a long two. He then assisted Jaskaran for another two. Haryana looked to capitalize on the size of Jaskaran to start off the game. Mumbai answered in the open court as the teams exchanged buckets. Prakash and Scales traded threes as the teams were tied at 10 with 4:30 left in the first quarter. Mumbai added 7 points in a hurry but the run was halted by a powerful hammer dunk by De’Sean Mattox to bring Haryana within 17-12. He followed with a floater inside. Akashdeep added two inside off an offensive rebound as Haryana mounted their comeback. Mattox gave Haryana a 18-17 lead off a jumper but Jeevenathan was quick to get two inside as Mumbai led Haryana 19-18 to end the first quarter. Mumbai were led by Jagdeep’s 8 points while Mattox added six to lead Haryana.
Akashdeep started the second quarter with a layup and Jagdeep answered with a three pointer. Mumbai are most threatening in the open court and Inderbir and Scroggins put Haryana on notice with two quick buckets as Mumbai raced out to a 28-23 lead. Mumbai seemed to struggle with the size of Akashdeep and Jaskaran. Mattox assisted Akashdeep on an alley-oop layup to bring Haryana within 34-33. Prakash’s free throw line jumper gave Haryana the lead as they went on a 12-4 run.
Alex Scales had a powerful dunk in traffic to stall Haryana and Mumbai found themselves leading Haryana 45-44 at halftime. They were led by 16 points from Scales, while no other player had scored in double figures for Mumbai. Akashdeep and Mattox led Haryana with 15 points each. Both teams combined to shoot 3 of 27 from downtown in the first half.
The third quarter opened with Mattox and Scales exchanging buckets. Mattox opened the third quarter with a three pointer and Scales answered right back with an and-one conversion. They exchanged another pair to tie the game at 51 with 7:30 left in the third. Haryana took a 62-57 lead fuelled by tenacious defence, prompting Mumbai to call a timeout. Haryana managed to hold on to a 8 point lead as they led Mumbai 76-68 at the end of the third.
Mumbai started the fourth quarter looking to run as Inderbir and Scroggins connected in the open court. Haryana capitalized all game on nifty backdoor cuts as Eban added two to give Haryana an 80-72 lead. Alex Scales hit a clutch jump-shot over Akashdeep to give Mumbai a 93-90 lead with 24 seconds left. The game seemed over but Mattox had other ideas as he hit a clutch three pointer to send the game into overtime with the score tied at 93.
Jaskaran opened overtime with a tip in and Scales responded with an and-one conversion. Jaskaran added two free throws to give Haryana a one point lead which was quickly snatched back by Scales. Mattox tied the game at 103 with a layup as Mumbai gave the ball to Jagdeep and cleared out. Jagdeep calmly spun into the lane for the game winner as Mumbai came out with a 106-103 win over Haryana in overtime.
Players of the game: Alex Scales (International) Prasanna Venkatesh (Indian)
Mumbai Challengers (Alex Scales 40 pts, Jimmy Scroggins 19 pts, Inderbir Gill 18 pts) bt Haryana Gold 106-103 (DeSean Mattox 32 pts, Akashdeep Hazra 18 pts, Jaskaran 13 pts)