The University of Nottingham (UoN) Men’s Basketball Team lost a tense Men’s Basketball Varsity against Nottingham Trent University (NTU) 80-70, as UoN missed the chance to retain the Nottingham Varsity Series for at least another 24 hours.

At a near-packed Motorpoint Arena, the Green and Gold battled with Pink for what was  an incredible night of basketball. Whilst Ice Hockey has significant hype surrounding the event, with tickets selling out in an hour, Basketball is now undoubtedly challenging Ice Hockey as the best event in the Varsity series. One crowd member was quoted saying ‘this is great…it’s like they’re on acid.’

The fast-paced action, high scoring games and electric atmosphere is proving to be an attractive mixture even for non-basketball fans. In the build-up to the event, UoN Men’s Basketball had invested significant time and money into promotion, with some incredible promotional videos courtesy Leo Lightfoot.

After last year’s excruciating 2 point loss in the final seconds of the game, UoN Men’s Basketball were prepared to take the fight to Trent and “Take Back The City”, which was a core message of their marketing for the event.

The event did not disappoint. The atmosphere was electric, with record attendances for a Women’s game which also proved to be a nail biter.

The game started with a bang, with Trent scoring a basket almost immediately after tip off, exploiting a gap in UoN’s defence. As predicted by UoN Men’s Basketball President and incoming SU Sports Officer Adam Pratchett, the game was incredibly close, with the lead constantly changing, and the packed out UoN stands buying into the action.

Both teams went on quick-fire scoring runs to take the lead up to 10 points, only to be cut down within minutes. The fast-paced action from both teams kept the crowd on edge, with the lead changing constantly throughout the game. UoN suffered two crucial injuries during the game, with American Scholar Erick Vigansky leaving the game early in the second quarter and Captain Max Zambo spraining his ankle soon after. This bit of bad luck really summed up their night.

“As a unit, UoN will be disappointed with their transitions from defence to attack”

Despite this, UoN continued to fight and came together as a unit with notable performances from Italian Edoardo Vacca and American Football scholar Patrick Daley.

The game was back and forth, with both teams exchanging baskets in quick succession. UoN had several chances, with a number of missed free throws; first year Ashton Linney squandered many chances which he would have buried on a normal day.

As a unit, UoN will be disappointed with their transitions from defence to attack. Paul Jeboda had a great opportunity in the 4th quarter to dunk and get the crowd pumped but chose the easier lay-up option. This meant there was no momentum shift and Trent saw the game out fairly comfortably, with a 10-point winning margin.

During the middle of the 3rd quarter, UoN began to look flat as Trent took advantage and built up a 7-point lead. In true John Terry style, President Adam Pratchett was not prepared to let his team go down without a fight, leaving his courtside seat to join the bench and rally the team.

UoN went on an incredible run to cut down the lead after some tactical changes by Head Coach Martin Richardson, and impressive defensive pressure from the moment the ball was inbounded by Trent.

The atmosphere went through the roof as the crowd got behind UoN with explosions of cheers after every basket and steal. Trent’s fans were equally vocal, however,e and helped their team get over the line.

Despite their best efforts, the strong Trent side closed out the game with a final score of 80-70, with UoN Basketball missing the chance to retain Varsity. UoN vowed to be back next year stronger than ever and thanked the fans for their incredible support throughout the game.

Despite the loss for the Men’s team, it is clear the real winner was the Varsity Basketball event which now rivals the reputation of Ice Hockey and will continue be core part of the Varsity series and only grow in popularity.

Adam Pratchett

Images: IMPACT Images

Follow @ImpactVarsity17 for all the updates from the second week of the Nottingham Varsity Series!

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