Intramural playoffs open with a bang

BY MATT COZZI | MARCH 24, 2010 7:30 AM

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The casual basketball fan would have gotten a kick out of one intramural game Tuesday night in the Field House.

In what proved to be an exciting intramural basketball playoff opener in the Andre Woolridge bracket, seventh-seeded Nodes of Ranvier defeated 10th-seeded 4 Jerks, 69-60.

For 4 Jerks, the contest was really two separate games. Numerous mistakes — including a plethora of turnovers and bad fouls — made for a lengthy first half.

Sluggishness and cold shooting also hurt 4 Jerks in the first frame. Nodes was exactly the opposite.
The seventh-seeded team hit an astonishing eight 3-pointers — the most memorable coming courtesy of Ahmed Akter, whose dagger at the buzzer gave the Nodes a 40-23 lead and a momentum boost going into the second half.

“Eric [Taylor] told me that he was going to get the ball to me at half court,” he said. “As soon as I got it, I was wide open and hit the shot, so I just got lucky I guess.”

Akter said the shot instilled confidence in the 3 in his squad for the rest of the game.

“After that we had a 17-point lead, and we knew if we stopped them for the next three or four minutes, the game would be over,” he said.

The team’s solid shooting impressed 4 Jerks, who were down by as much as 23 points with just over eight minutes to go in the second half.

“We didn’t really expect them to shoot that well,” said freshman Kyle Soldwisch, who tried to explain the tale of two halves for his squad. “Then in the second half, we got our inner-Farokhmanesh and started hitting some 3s.”

Soldwisch, who missed two late attempts to cut the lead to five late in the second half, led 4 Jerks with 28 points.

Point guard Mark Knoeppel added six points and five assists, with all but one of his points coming in the second half.

Freshman Chris Nwonye, who had the tough task of guarding Nodes big man Taylor, said his team has progressed as the season went along.

“We haven’t really played together before, so coming into the season, we didn’t know each other strengths,” he said. “In the end, we all know we are talented and can do some good things out there. I think we tried our best tonight and tried to get some open looks to put shots up.”

Taylor, who led all scorers with 33 points, said the team prides itself on doing well offensively and defensively, noting the team’s all-around ability stood out in the game.

“We try to be aggressive,” he said. “If we could play good defense, we usually get the offense going.”

The Nodes’ offense was definitely on Tuesday night. Three players scored in double figures, including guard Arthur Hong, who posted 15 points from.

Moving forward in the playoffs, the team members said they feel good about their chances and want to center their efforts around one notion that worked particularly well Tuesday night: the 3-point shot.

“Our team doesn’t have a lot of size,” Hong said. “We feel like we have to make it up in a way with the 3-pointers.”

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