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Bulls mow down Knights
Anthony Minott, Gleaner Writer
Defending champions Urban Knights are involved in a real bullfight for the KFC National Basketball League crown with arch-rivals Port Royal Bulls, following the latter's series-levelling 60-56 win in Game Two of the finals on Sunday.
The Bulls forced Game Three with the narrow win, recording their first victory in five tries against the defending champions. Their success was mainly due to the play of captain Dovian Wade, who scored a game-high 17 points, including two three-pointers.
Wade was well supported by Damion 'Trailer' Young with 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks, while Paul Oliphant, playing with an injury, added 11 points.
Andy Smith led the Knights with 12 points, while power forward Andrew Whilby (11) and small forward Omar Barnes (10) also made it into double figures.
Knights point guard Javon Bailey, though playing with a stiff back, came tough and scored nine points, all in three-point field goals.
"Our players played good ... it is a joy to beat Urban Knights, let us give credit to them (Knights), they are a very good team," said Oneil Williams, coach of Port Royal Bulls.
The Bulls were quick out of the blocks, having an 18-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. They extended their lead to 31-24 at half-time and pushed the lead to 35-26, inside the third quarter. But Urban Knights, as expected, made a run, one in which they cut the lead to 37-36. With the score at 39-36 in favour of the Bulls, Smith, on a fastbreak, dunked and was fouled by Leighton Meeks. Smith then scored the foul shot and the game was tied at 39-39.
The Bulls executed well in the fourth quarter, something they were not able to do in four previous matches against the Knights. Paul Oliphant netted a three-pointer to push the score to 52-43 with 6:26 left. Wade hit another three-pointer to give his team a big 55-44 lead with 4:11 remaining.
Later in the quarter, the Knights' Bailey kept his team in the hunt with back-to-back three-pointers to cut the deficit to four (58-54).
However, the Bulls' Wade netted a pair of free throws to give his team a six-point lead, 60-54, with 21.3 seconds left.
On the next possession, the Bulls' Meeks ill-advisably fouled Smith and he netted his two free throws, and a four-point game (60-56). However, the Knights failed to get any further points and will have to face a hungry Bulls team tomorrow.
Calvin Martin, coach of Urban Knights, thought the injury to inspirational point guard Javon Bailey hurt their chances to win.
"Ithink that the injury to Javon Bailey really hurt us tonight. Andrew Whilby has not shown up, he has not shown up at all since this play-off started. It wasn't a great game but Port Royal really showed guts," he said.
He added that the point production from the reserve players is insufficient to win ball games.
The two meet in the third and decisive game at the National Stadium courts tomorrow night in what is expected to be a tough battle. Tip-off time is 8 p.m.