The top two teams in the National Basketball League, City Oilers and UCU Canons, served a thriller on Wednesday night at Lugogo Indoor Stadium.
The entertaining game came down to largely inexperienced Canons fumble on their final play for City Oilers to hang on for a 67-64 win.
Four points separated Nick Natuhereza’s charges from the six-time champions at the end of the first quarter but matched Oilers pound-for-pound in the second and third quarter.
The Canons (17-3) trailed by four points at the start of the final quarter and Jimy Enabu (9 points) posted up Fayed Baale and turned around to extend Oilers lead to six points but Joas Maheta (8 points) responded with a 3-point play.
Francis Azolibe’s jump hook was followed by a corner 3-pointer from Josh Johnson and Oilers led by 8 points with just over six minutes to play.
However, the star of the night, Isaiah Ater who poured in season-high 27 points connected from deep and big man Titus Lual (8 points and 11 rebounds) followed it with a lay-up and Canons were back in the contest again with 4 minutes to play.
Oilers (16-3) restored their six-point lead through Enabu but Peter Sifuma hit an easy two and Ater knocked down a 3-ball from way out to pull Canons within a point 62-61 and the fans were on their feet.
However, Ndikumana who scored team-high 21 points for City Oilers netted a trey a response but Baale pulled Canons within two points with a turnaround jumper with just over a minute to play.
Peter Sifuma turned over with a bad pass to Baale in transition and Ndikumana restored Oilers 4-point lead, 67-63.
Baale later hit a free throw to make it a 3-point game for Canons but turned over with a bad pass on a potentially game levelling play after a timeout.
Oilers ran out the sevens seconds remaining on the clock for the win.
UCU Canons return to action on Friday, August 16 against Warriors.
In the women’s division, KIU Rangers defeated A1 Challenge, 51-44, behind Ines Kanyamunza’s 19 points.