Glasgow University’s men’s basketball team had to chip away at Glasgow Rocks to overcome them in this semi-final, played on their home turf at the Stevenson Building.
From the tip-off Glasgow’s foundations were shaken by the power and pace of the Rocks. Within a matter of minutes they found themselves five points behind and they seemed shocked by this. Glasgow genuinely thought this game would be easier than it was — they started with an air of self-assurance and self-confidence that was soon knocked out of them.
Glasgow clawed some points back in the first quarter thanks to some great play from team captain Astromskas, who instigated the fight back and set up Mraz and Janutenas for a much needed four points.
Astromskas was instrumental in Glasgow’s build-up play throughout the quarter and they have him to thank for keeping them in the game. It was a quarter of missed chances for Glasgow — they created enough but were just not converting them, as they missed hoop after hoop — an example being when Kalnietis failed to score any points from the two free throws he received after a foul.
The Rocks punished any slack play from Glasgow and continued to pose a threat. But to Glasgow’s credit they kept fighting and the quarter ended Glasgow 16 – 11 Rocks.
The second quarter saw Glasgow sail into a comfortable lead; they now seemed to have the opposition figured out. After a shaky start Glasgow were playing well and Mraz pitched in with a quick two-pointer. They again have Astromskas to thank, along with Keliauskas, who both scored hoops, including two fantastic three-pointers to help Glasgow go 27-11 in front.
Keliauskas and Mraz linked up well in a play that saw Mraz launch a pass the full length of the court, where Keliasuskas collected and coolly converted for two points.
The Rocks managed to regain some points; it seemed Glasgow would get so far ahead and then allow the opposition back into the game. It was end-to-end in this quarter and played at a blistering pace. Glasgow were managing to make more of their chances but were punished by a few three-pointers from a determined Rocks team. At half-time the score was Glasgow 37- 30 Rocks.
The third quarter saw Glasgow pick up where they left off. Mraz scored a few hoops and helped his team to widen the gap over the Rocks. This quarter was frantic and aggressive with a few rough challenges and a spate of fouls taking place. The Rocks again scored a few three-pointers and they did their best to keep themselves in the game. The quarter ended with Glasgow leading 64 – 51.
The final quarter was a nervy affair, with Glasgow retaining their lead but with the Rocks continuing to peg them back. Tensions were high as Glasgow managed to stay ahead, and the pressure was starting to show with the Rocks team arguing amongst themselves and giving away fouls.
Glasgow did well to rise above this, and thrived on the pressure, but they were once again let down by their shooting. If they had managed to score more of the chances they created they would have been in a much more comfortable position.
The Rocks didn’t have the fight to take Glasgow to the wire, but they certainly gave them a tough game. Glasgow showed great character and determination to overcome and quell any idea of a comeback from the opposition as they honed in on a place in the final.
The game ended Glasgow 85 – 72 Rocks. Overall they showed tremendous team spirit with every one doing their bit, including the fans that turned up to inspire the team to victory. But the MVP award should surely be given to captain Astromskas, who was inspirational and has done more than most to get his team through the tie and set up a date with Edinburgh Spartans in the final on March 26.