James Okello looks to find the basket

City Oilers 76-69 KIU Titans

KIU’s Ethienne Kazungu closes down Landry Ndikumana during Game 2. Ndikumana was a handful in the second half.

City Oilers exhibited extra-ordinary mental strength as they came from a fifteen-point halftime deficit to beat KIU Titans in Game 2 of the National Basketball League playoff semifinals.

The five-time champions overhauled the huge halftime deficit to beat Titans 76-69 on Sunday night at Lugogo Indoor Stadium to level the best-of-five series at 1-1.

Coming into the game trailing in the series 1-0, Oilers knew
defeat would dent their chances of making a sixth consecutive trip to the finals, but their start to the game did not point to that.

It was KIU that dominated the first ten minutes of the game, as they easily beat the defense Oilers presented, winning the opening quarter 26-13.

Oilers regrouped and played better defense in the second quarter as Jimmy Enabu remained the most productive on the offensive end. However, the side still trailed by 15 points (44-29) going into the halftime break.

Mandy Juruni’s charges returned from the locker rooms a completely different side especially on the defensive end. Oilers suffocated KIU’s offense as they slowly but surely chipped away and by the end of the third, they were just 5 points (54-59) short, thanks largely to Josh Johnson and Landry Ndikumana.

James Okello looks to find the basket. The power forward tormented KIU’s interior defense 

City Oilers carried the momentum to the fourth quarter and an 8-2 run to start the game put them in the lead (62-61) for the first time with 7:54 to play.

A free throw from Sudi Ulanga and Chris Omanye’s lay-up put Titans back in the lead but Josh Johnson’s lay-up that followed Enabu’s foul shot put Oilers back up (65-64) and the side never trailed again.

Enabu scored game-high 23 points and Johnson had 17 points. Ndikumana scored 12 points and picked 14 rebounds while James Okello contributed 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, 10 off the offensive glass.

Michael Bwanga scored team-high 22 points for KIU, Chris Omanye and Sudi Ulanga came in handy with 15 and 11 points respectively in a losing effort.

Game 3 of the series is on Tuesday night at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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