Al Ettihad clinched an exciting seven-point win over Al Najma in a Group ‘A’ game of the Bahrain Basketball Association Cup at Zain Arena in Um Al Hassam last night.
After going down 27-21 in the first half and then edging ahead by just two points at half-time, Ettihad eventually won 108-101 in a seesaw game that saw Ali Jaber, despite scoring 39 points, being upstaged by Ettihad’s Mohammed Abdulla Ali and Ammar Mohammed Shabaan.
Ettihad fought hard in the second quarter and three-pointers by Shabaan and Ali helped them draw level at 44-44. Shabaan scored a couple of free throws to take Ettihad ahead 48-46 before Najma fought back to take a 50-48 lead.
Ali sank a three-pointer in the final moments to wrest a two point lead for Ettihad at half-time (52-50).
Ettihad took more than two minutes to score in the second half as Najma claimed a six-point lead. Three-pointers by Ali and Ali Helal brought the score to 60-60 before Ali Ghadeer’s three-pointer and two layups took Ettihad ahead 67-60.
Ghadeer, however, was injured soon after and he limped out of the court. Ettihad didn’t relinquish lead thereafter, although Najma were constantly breathing down their neck.
Najma came as close as 68-69 in the third quarter, but a three-pointer and free throws by Helal gave Ettihad a nine-point lead ahead of the final canto.
Najma made a valiant effort to bounce back in the final quarter and they raised hopes of a comeback when three-pointers by Qassim Hassan and Abdulla Mohamed helped them bring down the deficit to just one point.
At 98-99 Najma were all set for an upset, but layups by Shabaan and Hassan Albossta in the last minute saw Ettihad through.
Ali scored 26 points while Shabaan and Ghadeer contributed 24 and 18 respectively for the winners.
Qassim Hassan was the second heighest scorer for Najma with points.
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