Following an emphatic performance from the University of Birmingham’s (UoB) women’s basketball team earlier in the afternoon, the men stepped up to try and make it two wins from two in Birmingham’s biggest annual basketball event. The scene was set in the UoB sport and fitness centre, complete with tiered seating packed with roaring fans, a stunning intra-game display by the Birmingham Pussycats, and of course UoB’s much beloved mascot: Rory the Lion. The crowd cheered on as the game tipped off, with an undefeated Birmingham City University (BCU) side the probable favourites of the afternoon. Nevertheless, UoB opened the first quarter defiantly, shooting four points in the first fifteen seconds, however BCU quickly found their rhythm and found themselves 7-4 to the good less than a minute later. With both teams settling into the game, BCU ended the first quarter ahead by 25 points to UoB’s 17, and despite UoB’s initial intensity, BCU were worthy of their 8-point advantage.
In similar fashion UoB also started the second quarter dominantly, netting an unanswered 7 points in the opening two minutes. Following the UoB onslaught, BCU called a timeout in hopes of disrupting the stride of the UoB players, however UoB found the two points they needed to put them up 26-25 straight from the timeout with seven minutes of the quarter remaining. As things were looking up for UoB, BCU found form and following a barrage of baskets were leading 42 points to UoB’s 29 at the midway point of the game. Despite the charity basketball raffle taking centre stage at half time, UoB weren’t leaving anything down to chance in the third quarter, where fans were blessed by a stellar 10 minutes of basketball by the UoB Lions. Whilst Alvaro Cabezas has been known to whip out a ‘stanky leg’ on a Saturday night fab session, there was nothing stanky about his third quarter performance hitting multiple three pointers, and paired with the defensive solidity of the Lions, UoB pulled off a remarkable comeback with just two points separating the sides entering the fourth quarter.
As the crowd sat in anticipation of the tightly contested affair, both sides fought tooth and nail to secure victory for their respective universities. With the game hung in the balance, the tension was palpable, with BCU’s no. 2 removing himself from the premises and my co-host Seun taking a minute to himself to maintain his composure. As BCU narrowly extended their lead to 72-68, UoB were unable to convert both of their two free throws to keep them within touching distance, and ultimately fell just short. A fantastic game of basketball from both sides and those who attended assuredly got their moneys worth. An incredible £124 was also raised for Birmingham LGBT as a result of the 248 points scored across the afternoon. Footage of the game with accompanied commentary provided by Joe Camp, Aidan Clarke and Seun Sontana can be found at UBSportFitness YouTube channel.