KENYA : Champs Co-op win again as Thunder strike Strathmore Blades

NAIROBI (Premier League) - National champions Co-operative Bank of Kenya made it two wins in a row by defeating United States International University (USIU) 63-57 in a Premier League clash at Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.

Abel Nson set the ball rolling for the bankers with two quick three-pointers before Victor Bosire replied with two foul shots. The lively Evans Letting hit a three-pointer as USIU took their first lead at 13-10 en route to a 17-12 first quarter edge.

Co-op regrouped as the speedy Titus Musembi was introduced and he sprayed passes for Mark Mayien and Mike Makidai to drive the winners ahead 33-29 as the buzzer sounded for the end of the half.

In the third quarter, Co-op still enjoyed a 49-38 advantage but once Letting scored on a dunk for a 51-47 cushion, Co-op panicked. Chris Mulumba scored inside for a 61-54 margin and Letting made it 61-57 before the final buzzer stopped the onslaught.

Nson finished with 15 points, Makiadi added 11 and Mayen had 10 for Co-op. Letting paced the students with 18, 11 coming in the first quarter, while Mulumba chipped in with 14.

Meanwhile, Thunder struck Strathmore University 61-57.

Ken Mwangi shot the victors into an early lead with a three-pointer as they went up 15-8 edge at the end of the first quarter. The students though got back into the game with a 17-13 advantage in the second period that cut the deficit to 28-25 at the break.

After the resumption, a huge slam dunk by Ronny Gundo followed by a David Ogolla basket gave Strathmore their first lead at 31-30, but that was shortlived.

Mwangi hit a timely three-pointer for a 44-34 Thunder advantage. Despite a heroic recovery by the Blades, he then connected on back-to-back long bombs for a commanding 57-47 cushion for the victors.

Mwangi finished with 20 points while Sammy Kirya added 10 for Thunder, formerly International Christian Center (ICC). Strathmore got 16 points from Tony Abondo and 10 from Gundo.

Elsewhere, Sprite Storms thrashed seven-man Predators 58-19. The losers were held to just a single point in the first quarter that ended 18-1 and they never recovered.

In women's action, Carol Achieng went for a game-high 32 points to lead Co-p Bank past past USIU Flames 63-60. Irene Wafula added 12 points. For the students, Zipporah Odhiambo scored 21 points and Debrah Chan added 16.

Kenya College of accountancy (KCA) beat Kenya Polytechcnic University 38-26 behind 14 points from Lucy Machuma. Naomi Kirigo shot 11 for Poly, who lost their second tie in a row. KCA wre up 12-11 at the break.

Umoja went past Kenya Polytechnic University 49-30. Rogers Magati scored 14 points and Raphale Otieno hit nine. Poly had a combined 17 from Austin Akoth and Pesent Orengo.