Chennai: Jeppiar Engineering College made a stirring comeback to win the Bertram Memorial Shield basketball tournament at Loyola College on Sunday, trumping the home side 70-62. This was its third win in three league games. The three other teams — Loyola, Kerala Varma College (Thrissur) and St. Joseph’s – won one game each.

Loyola, urged on by a raucous crowd, was 35-31 ahead after the first two quarters, its creative, diminutive trio of Saravanan, Parthiban, and Mohammad Azharuthin racking up a series of three-pointers after measured build-up play from deep. Additionally, the Jeppiar players seemed overwhelmed by the partisan crowd, missing crucial free throws as boos reverberated around them.

Perfect strategy

The strategy worked perfectly, drying up the points for Loyola, and opening up the counter-attack. Jeppiar used its height advantage to win a large percentage of rebounds, and broke quickly, as Bala down the right, Umesh on the left, and Praveen in between went charging down the court, exchanging quick passes to cut through the heart of the Loyola defence.

Jeppiar also defended higher up the court whenever the ball went out of bounds to deny Loyola the slow build-ups it had earlier thrived on. By the time the final whistle blew, Loyola was reduced to shooting speculatively from distance in a vain effort to bridge the widening schism.

Earlier, P. Euprick of Kerala Varma College (Trissur) scored 23 points, and won a number of crucial rebounds, to help his team defeat St. Joseph’s 78-71 in its final league game.

The scores: Jeppiar Engineering College 70 (Bala 20) bt Loyola 62 (Parthiban 25, Azharuthin 20); Kerala Varma College (Trissur) 78 (Euprick 23) bt St Joseph’s 71 (Nikhil Ediulla 14). — Sports Reporter

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