Scots push England all the way as rivals retain uni titles

England retained both titles in the British Universities 4 Nations Basketball Championships which finished at Edinburgh University yesterday, but not before Scotland had given them a terrific battle in both men’s and women’s clashes.

Scotland men led for much of the first half and went into the half-time break tied 38-38 with the favourites, who had several strokes of luck over controversial decisions.

But England stepped up their defence and pulled away with a powerful third quarter in which they hit 34 points to Scotland’s 11 and, though Scotland rallied to tie the final quarter 15-15, England went on to win 87-64, led by captain Kalil Irving with 21 points.

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Al Alilovic (Glasgow) was top home scorer with 15, Edinburgh centre Ryan Webb added 12, Fraser Glass (West) and Chris Alimi (Glasgow Caledonian) both 10 and skipper Michael Kirkpatrick (Edinburgh) nine. Scotland women, who had to win by 16 to take the title after losing to Wales on the opening day, went even closer to causing an upset, leading 37-35 at half-time and 52-49 after the third quarter as the lead swung back and fore in a pulsating game.

But England punished their hosts after Edinburgh centre Hannah Peacock and Emma Findlay (Glasgow Caledonian) fouled out and they finished as slightly flattering 71-63 winners, led by the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Helen Naylor, who scored 36 points.

For Scotland there was another 18 points and a stack of rebounds from Edinburgh’s Claire Paxton, 15 from her team-mate Beth Mackie and 12 from Shauna O’Connor (Queen Margaret).

Results: Men: N Ireland 82 Wales 58; Scotland 64 England 87. Women: Wales 56 N Ireland 50; Scotland 63 England 71.

Final positions: Men: 1 England, 2 Scotland, 3 N Ireland, 4 Wales. Women: 1 England, 2 Wales, 3 Scotland, 
4 N Ireland.