KADHEM Majed helped Muharraq eke out a hard-earned 76-72 victory over Riffa last night in a titanic match-up between two title-contenders in the 2018/2019 Zain Bahrain Basketball League.
The versatile combo-guard buried a three-pointer to put Muharraq in the lead for good, 72-70, with a minute and 53 seconds to go.
Riffa then made a crucial turnover on their ensuing inbounds pass, and Majed’s backcourt mate Ahmed Hassan made them pay with a floater that put Muharraq up by four.
American professional Joseph Jones then had two free-throws to make it a one-possession game once more, but then Hassan had his own pair with 59.9 seconds to play that pegged the final score, as neither team managed to make a basket the rest of the way.
Muharraq were in control of the contest early on and took a commanding 29-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Riffa roared back, however, and outscored Muharraq by 17 in the second to head into the half with a slim 40-39 lead.
A low-scoring third quarter ended with Riffa still ahead 51-49, setting the stage for a see-saw fourth period that could have ended with either team on top.
Majed had earlier converted from beyond the arc to make it 60-all with six minutes remaining. But Riffa were able to take a 70-67 advantage, which Muharraq’s American import and former NBA player Sean Williams cut to just one, 69-70, with just over two minutes to go.
That paved the way for Majed’s game-changing three-pointer. Majed finished as the game’s leading scorer with 26 points, with two three-pointers in the contest.
Williams added 11 points and 15 rebounds while Bader Abdulla Malabes also had 11 with three three-pointers. Hassan had nine points, five rebounds and five assists, while Ali Abbas finished with eight points.
Jones top scored for Riffa with 25 points while also grabbing 20 rebounds. Mohammed Kuwayed added 22 points including three triples.
With the result, Muharraq stayed undefeated in seven games and they went to number one on the league standings. Riffa suffered their first defeat to go along with five wins.
In yesterday’s other game, Ettihad enjoyed a big 97-52 victory over Samaheej.
After taking a 23-10 lead after the first quarter, they never looked back and went up by as many as a whopping 53 points during the game.
They were 47-24 ahead at the break and then after the third took a 70-32 advantage. The fourth quarter was a mere formality.
Serbian big man Mile Ilic had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Ettihad, while Sayed Mohammed Hameed added 13 and Ali Ghadeer had 12. For Samaheej, only Basel Adel scored in double-figures with 12 points.
Following the game, Ettihad claimed their third win in six outings while Samaheej were dealt their seventh loss as they remained winless.
Last night’s games marked the end to the seventh week of play in the season. League action continues on Monday next week.