Out-Jousted in the Arena

On Tuesday night of last week at the AUD Knights arena, the crowds settled in their seats eagerly awaiting the AUD basketball team to enter the court. The team and the fans were quite disappointed with the previous week’s performance against Team Storm which led to an unexpected loss, so they were hoping that AUD could make up for that loss with a huge win against the Syrian National basketball team.

Despite the Knights’ amazing performance throughout the first half, the Syrian National Team turned the tables on the home team and defeated them by 74-70.

AUD started off very well by scoring 27 points in the first five minutes and only conceding 12. Amer Al Sati defended the back half of the field amazingly and Mansour Mbengue scored 9 points in the first quarter alone. By the end of the first quarter, AUD was leading 35-32. While the second quarter was slow and scoreless, the third quarter was when the Syrian National Team was able to turn the tables on the Knights and score 13 points without conceding at all. After tensions rose from anxious players and coaches, the fourth quarter was full of attacks on both ends of the court; but with 6 seconds left on the clock and one point separating the two teams, the Syrian National team was able to score a three pointer and end the game 74-70.

When asked about his methods at half time and how he was able to flip the scoreboard on the home team, Coach Nedal said that changing the formation was essential to his squad’s victory. “We changed the defense to the 2 and 3 zone,” said coach Nedal, “we tried to stop them because they don’t have a good shooter from outside.”

AUD’s Coach Alex said that the mistake was that the Knights “stayed too much in zone,” and allowed the visitors to score a lot of three pointers. “They scored like 10 three shots, that’s 30 points,” said Coach Alex, “that was the difference.” He said that he believed that his team played very well and added that the AUD team is “still young; there’s a big difference. Maybe the other team’s [average age] is like 27 or 25, they have experience and play for the national team,” pointing out that the average age of the Boys in Blue is 19 or 20 years old.

Coach Nedal said that he admired the AUD players and even said that they had the ability to beat his own players man-to-man. “They just need a bit more experience,” said the Syrian coach, “but I really like these players.”

When asked about the importance of the fans at the arena, Coach Alex said that there should be more posters and more advertising for the games in all the sports. He said even the players would be a lot more motivated if bigger crowds attended the games. Coach Nedal agreed with Coach Alex and said “a sport without fans, nothing is there.” The arena hosted fewer than 70 students that night.

Our Knights have since won a game against The Australian College in Kuwait, and lost their last game by 14 points against The Regulators, making their season’s standing at an unfortunate 1-3. The fans have yet to flood into the arena to support our university’s team.

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