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MARSHALLS WIN GOLD AT 2016 PUSAG GAMES
In the headline sport at the PUSAG Games, the male basketball team of Marshalls defeated surprise package, Radford University to emerge the 2016 Basketball Champions, at the El Wak Stadium, Accra. In a game tied both in regulation time and overtime, Marshalls eventually outgunned their impressive opponents in 2nd overtime to win gold. It was Marshalls’ maiden appearance at the Games.
“Marshalls- We win!” Such were the chants as the 14-man Marshalls Basketball team alighted from the team bus to participate in the Private Universities Students Association of Ghana [PUSAG] Games. You could feel the confidence and belief within the squad as the team sang chants of conquest before they even passed a ball. It was the first major tournament of the year 2016, and Team Marshalls were desperate to claim the ultimate to boost morale even further ahead of more prestigious College Basketball tournaments.
It all worked to plan as Marshalls, coming off a run of 17 games without defeat capitalized on their momentum to emerge champions. The team thus extended their winning streak to 21 games, excluding walking over Ashesi University.
The final itself was a thrilling one, as Marshalls and Radford University went toe to toe. There was hardly anything to separate both sides, and tellingly, at the end of regulation time, both sides were tied at 36-36. Marshalls dominated the early exchanges in the opening half as Radford struggled to settle. Anthony Adade, Marshalls’ handler and stand-in captain, kept the team ticking with incredible finesse as the team overwhelmed with quick transitions. Radford also struggled to penetrate Marshalls’ resolute defense as the latter raced to an 8-2 lead within the first five minutes.
Credit however must be giving to Radford University for rallying to counter Marshalls’ fast start to tie the game at 18 points apiece at the end of the half. Team Marshalls struggled towards the end of the half as their opponents audaciously drifted into space to shoot three pointers, boosted by the gangly Kumi Fojour’s authority on rebound duty. The second half was more end to end with both teams evenly matched. No team at any point led by more than four points. Both teams demonstrated their quality, drawing applause from the witnessing faithful and proving their final credentials. It seemed as though the team which was unlucky enough to make three errors in quick succession would lose.
It was a tale of two teams reliant on tactical nous and game plan superiority as both teams were matched for individual quality; Eric Asante of Radford and Marshalls’ David Asingar clearly standing out. Marshalls’ Prosper Dosoo also won 10 rebounds in the final- more than any other player in any match at the Games.
Radford resorted to pressurizing Marshalls and committing them to make fouls. Marshalls, under the mercy of very questionable officiating, tried to avoid fouls while attacking the rim. The team, amidst the adversity, refused to go down easily rallying from a seemingly losing position towards the dying embers of the final half to tie the match and send the game into overtime.
The game would not end in overtime either as both sides scored four points apiece to tie the game for the third time in the match. It was quite clear that Radford lacked fitness and endurance as the game tarried. Marshalls capitalized on their opponents’ drop in energy and performance levels to deservedly win the game to become the 2016 PUSAG Basketball champions.
It was a sight to behold as team Marshalls lifted the trophy to cement their place in the history books of the PUSAG Games, and more importantly, as one of the real giants of College Basketball. Before the games, several connoisseurs of College Basketball had tipped two of three Colleges to contest the finals. These were Marshalls, the Mimi Falconi-trained Ghana Telecom University College, and defending champions Zenith College. Even though Marshalls lived up to the hype, Radford University upset the stakes after inflicting defeats on both Central University and Zenith College.
On the other hand, team Marshalls beat Wisconsin University, walked over Ashesi University before grabbing hard fought victories over Evangelical Presbyterian University and the Ghana Telecom University College, a team coached by Ghana basketball legend, Mimi Falconi, in the Quarter finals and semifinals respectively. In a dramatic semifinal against GTUC, Marshalls held their nerve to qualify in the last seconds of the game by the slimmest of margins. GTUC missed two free throw shots in the last five seconds of the game to allow Marshalls win the tie and consequently proceed to the final.
David Asingar of Marshalls was adjudged best player at the end of the Games, beating teammate David Okoe Laryea and Radford’s Eric Asante to the accolade. It was a glowing performance from Team Marshalls who once again raised the flag of the college through sport. The team is set to challenge other Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges [UPAC] for the top prize at the UPAC Games 2016 in April.