It was target practice for the lesser lights in the leading teams, as the competition meandered into the knockout stage of the Pearls 60th National basketball championship at the Guru Nanak Stadium indoor arena here on Thursday.

Defending champion Railways topped the group with ease, as it punched its way past Uttar Pradesh 115-83, relegating the latter to the minor league for the next season.

While Railways wound up with an all-won record, Uttar Pradesh failed to win a match in the five-member group ‘A’.

Advantage Railways

Railways will have the advantage of meeting a weaker team, which would be coming through the pre-quarterfinals. Chandigarh and Karnataka will play to decide the right to challenge Railways.

In the other group, Tamil Nadu notched up its second win, and shunted Delhi into the minor league.

Delhi failed to win a match in group ‘B’ though it stretched teams like Uttarakhand and Punjab to some extent.

TN to meet Services

Tamil Nadu will take on Services, which wound up its show with a smooth 82-43 victory over Andhra Pradesh.

Uttarakhand showed that it was getting into the competitive mould, as it outclassed Karnataka 97-72 despite resting its leading players for the most part.

The second pre-quarterfinal will feature Chhattisgarh and Kerala. The winner will not have much time to celebrate as it would possibly face the music against Punjab in the evening.

In the women’s quarterfinals, it will be Railways vs Punjab, Karnataka vs Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh vs Maharashtra and Kerala vs Delhi.

The results:

Men: Group A: Services 82 (K. Vipin 22, C. Sridhar 17) bt Andhra Pradesh 43.

Railways 115 (Sunil Kumar 22, Harpal Singh 17, Arjun Singh 14, Prakash Mishra 13, Vishesh Briguvanshi 10, Shadab Khan 10) bt Uttar Pradesh 83 (Abhinav Singh 22, Deepanshu 18, Santosh Kumar Singh 17).

Group B: Tamil Nadu 79 (S. Robinson 14, Paul Abhishek 11, Mihir Pandey 10) bt Delhi 59 (Sunil Kumar 18, Som Vir 14, Gurvinder Singh 12).

Uttarakhand 97 (Trideep Rai 27, Mohit Bhandari 16, Riyazuddin 15) bt Karnataka 72 (Roshan Thankachan 17, S. G. Mahesh 13, Kaushal Ravikumar 13, Loyid Antony 12).

More In: Other Sports | Sport