National basketball championship: Uttarakand, TN make winning start

Defending champion Uttarakhand made a winning start to its campaign, beating Odisha 85-62 in the level one, group-A men's match of the senior National basketball championship.

Tamil Nadu basket ball player Jeeva (yellow 13) is challenged by Haryana during the 68th Senior National Basketball Championship for Men in Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.   -  V. Ganesan

Defending champion Uttarakhand made a winning start to its campaign, beating Odisha 85-62 in the level one, group-A men's match of the senior National basketball championship at the Nehru indoor stadium here on Wednesday. 

Mohit Bhandari top-scored for Uttarakhand with 20 points. The event, featuring 31 men and 29 women teams, was formally inaugurated later in the day. Tamil Nadu men started off well too, defeating Haryana 113-58 in the first match after the inauguration.

Justin Gnanaraj, the power forward, top-scored with 22 points. Tamil Nadu had taken an unassailable lead, by half time itself. The second quarter was the most productive (38-6) for Tamil Nadu.

Head coach Milan Opacic had remarkably kept out point guard Akilan Pari and Centre Rikin Pethani, the experienced National team players, from the first five he fielded. The team had earlier in the day announced that Raghu Ram has taken over the captaincy from Akilan Pari.

The results (day one):

Men: Level I

Group A: Uttarakhand 85 (Mohit Bhandari 20) bt Odisha 62 (Suman Sahoo 19); Group B: Punjab 76 (Gurvinder Singh Gill 22) bt Gujarat 65 (Harpal 17); Tamil Nadu 113 (Justin Gnanaraj 22) bt Haryana 58 (Ankit 18); Level II: Group C: Chhattisgarh 49 (Pratham Singh 15) bt Goa 32 (Flobert 14); Group D: Andhra Pradesh 76 (T. Tammu Sandeep 20) Jammu & Kashmir 75 (Ranbir Singh 18); Puducherry 22 lost to Telangana 54 (Sri Ganesh Patil 15); Group F: Uttar Pradesh 88 (Sagar Joshi 28) bt West Bengal 76 (M. Vivek 29)

Women: Level I

Group A: Tamil Nadu 68 bt Madhya Pradesh 48; Group B: Rajasthan 89 (Aswathy S. Thampi 27) bt Telangana 61 (Nisha Sharma 31); Railways 89 (Sruthi Menon 15) bt Delhi 39 (Pratima Singh 16)

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