The University of Sheffield put in a solid performance, but succumbed to an assured display from Team Hallam in the Men’s Basketball 1s, losing 79-69 after a back-and-fourth game at EIS.
Uni of started the scoring with a free throw in the opening seconds from Johnathan Tsui, before Robert Malthouse turned the score round for Hallam. Uni’s Adam Moore went on a good run to retake the lead, passing several Hallam players.
It was a real end-to-end start to the game, with the score staying tight in the first few minutes, neither team wanting to give up ground before the first-quarter break.
Following the break, it looked like the Black and Gold might be building some sort of a lead through Tsui, but Truzzel Spencer pulled the first three-pointer out of the game for Hallam, ensuring they remained in touching distance. By the end of the first quarter, Hallam took a 20-19 lead into the break.
Hallam’s dominance started to show in the second quarter, cutting out a large portion of Black and Gold attacks, or limiting them to shots from range, before countering quickly.
Meanwhile, Uni of took advantage of free throws, but Team Hallam came back almost immediately. A shot late in the quarter from Tom North ensured Uni of would have some respite at 38-40 at the break, but Hallam looked good value for their lead.
Refreshed, Team Hallam came back from half-time with a much-changed team, but immediately looked in the ascendancy. Scoring became tighter, and the start of the third quarter was littered with errors, but the Black and Gold did their best to keep it as tight as they could.
Regardless, Team Hallam were better, and started to open up a lead following impeccable shots from Spencer and Matthew Mastalerz in what was quite a cagey, low-scoring quarter, although it did start to open up as it neared its conclusion, with Xavier McIntosh from Hallam capitalising on some poor play to race through.
Uni held their ground though, and they likely would’ve seen a wider gap heading into the final quarter had they not. As it was tough, they finished off the third period with the score 59-51 to Team Hallam.
In the final ten minutes, the Black and Gold continued to work hard in getting back to defend, and pushing forward, trying to find some way back into the game. Just when it looked like they might be though, Sedale Handson-Young sank the second three-pointer of the game, before Jacob Cauthorn gave Team Hallam the largest lead they’d had in the game – 12 points – just before the first mid-quarter break.
Tsui continued running until the last, helping keep Uni in the game both by netting points, and being back down the other end, keeping Team Hallam at bay as best he could. With five minutes to go, a basket he made followed by two three throws narrowed the points gap. it looked like the Black and Gold might have a chance to claim something from the game.
Hallam came back with a free throw, but Moore finally got Uni’s first three-pointer of the game, bringing the gap back down to six points. Again, Hallam scored two free throws, before Uni’s North doggedly won possession back at the Hallam end, and ran, scoring, to put the Black and Gold back in it, with just four minutes to go.
After a final mid-quarter break though, Team Hallam shored it up, matching the Black and Gold and increasing their lead, with Spencer getting his third three-pointer of the game. Cauthorn eventually took the ball and wound the clock down, sealing a 79-69 win for Team Hallam. It was a valiant attempt at a comeback from the Black and Gold, but in the end it wasn’t to be.
Following the game, Truzell Spencer, one of the Hallam captains, said: “After that win, I’m feeling good, it was a good team performance today.”
On his three three-pointers during the game, Spencer added: “My team played well, I’m just doing my part on offence.”
Jack Loizel, the University of Sheffield captain, said he was really happy with the performance, and added: “We’ve won our league for the first time in seven years, and we came into this with nothing to lose. We never really win Varsity.
“We gave it our all, but in the fourth quarter we just let it go a bit. Overall we’re really happy with the way we played.”
The result means that the overall Varsity score at the end of EIS Day is 35-21 to the University of Sheffield, and the Black and Gold are just 4.5 points from winning the trophy for the seventh year in a row.