NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – Ulinzi Warriors once again needed a massive performance to overcome University side Strathmore Blades, the military side coming off 68-64 winners in overtime in a controversial Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) Men’s Premier League tie that had Blades coach Tony Ochieng ejected for a second technical call against him.

William Ochieng sunk a three-pointer for Ulinzi with six seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 56-56 to force the game to overtime and just two minutes in, Blades coach Ochieng was ejected after strongly protesting a foul called on Garang Deng, leading to a long stoppage in play.

The military side would use their experience to see off the game punishing Blades for failing to take their chances especially after winning three shooting fouls in Overtime, only one point converted.

Blades looked to be headed for a win against the soldiers with a three-point lead. However, they left the lanky Ochieng unmanned at the edge of the arch and he rose up brilliantly to swing in a three that stunned the dimly-lit Nyayo Stadium court.

Ulinzi Warriors’ Antonio Bwire sinks a basket during their match against Strathmore Blades. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The military side called a time out with two seconds left on the clock to win possession with a side ball inside the Strathmore half, but they could not execute, forcing the game to overtime.

From Ochieng’s second ejection, Mutoro was given one more opportunity from the free throw line but he only put through a single shot as he drew the game level at 59-59.

Off a turnover, Blades were handed a shooting foul but George Okoth couldn’t convert any, and the same would be the story for Rueben Muraya.

With 2:13 to play in Overtime, Blades were made to pay for their failure from the free throw line as Tiberius Menya shot both from a shooting foul to tie the game at 61-61.

From then, the soldiers used their experience, going for a 7-0 scoring spree before a late three pointer with 36seconds to play reduced the gap to a four-point game.

Eqarlier on, the game had been off to a very slow start with an extremely low scoring first quarter, Ulinzi leading 9-7. But, the students outscored the soldiers 19-9 in the second quarter for a 26-18 lead at halftime.

Bramwel Chevai of Strathmore Blades bounces a pass beyond William Ochieng of Ulinzi Warriors. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The game would however explode in the third quarter as Ulinzi suddenly improved with their shooting to tie the game at the fulltime buzzer.

“Our close pressing was bad. We didn’t share the balls as well as I expected and we didn’t control the boards until the last quarter of the game. They are a well-seasoned team and we expected a tough match. We still have a lot to work on. We are taking a game at a time and taking lessons from each match, a win or a loss,” said Bernard Mufutu, the Warriors head coach.

In five matches, the Warriors have won four and lost one, against KPA.

Collins Sudi and William Ochieng were Ulinzi’s top performers as they gathered 13 points each while the impressive point guard Bramwel Chevai was Blades’ best performer with a game high 16 points.

Meanwhile in the earlier match, visiting Eldonets beat Kenyatta University Pirates 73-62 in a competitive tie.

By Fred Azelwa.