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Knights, Spartans in big NBL clash

Published:Tuesday | May 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Former champions Urban Knights will be seeking their third consecutive victory in the National Basketball League (NBL), when they oppose Spanish Town Spartans in today's feature game at the National Stadium courts, starting at 6 p.m.

In the second game of the double-header, Selassie Gardens will go up against Swift Sons at 7:45 p.m.

Knights, who last won back-to-back titles in 2007-08, will enter today's game full of confidence after registering victories over pre-season favourites Runnin Rebels and Waterhouse Blazers.

"I think that once we convert our easy baskets then I think we should win the game," said Kevin Alexander, technical director of Knights.

"On the defensive end, we have been playing relatively well, but on the offence I think we need to be a bit more patient with our execution," he observed.

Alexander added that the Spartans is a good all-round team and therefore they would not be taking them lightly.

"The Spartans have been playing well because their point guard is a former Urban Knights player and we are going to have to shut him down because their offence runs through him," he said.

"We will also have to shut down their outside shooters because they have been shooting very accurately in the league this season," Alexander said.

Point guard Fernando Young

The Knights will rest their hopes in the hands of point guard Fernando Young, shooting guard Andrew Murray, forward Ian Gooden and centre Oneil Mundle.

On the other hand, the Spartans, whose record stands at four wins and one loss, have been one of the most dominants teams in the league this season. They are also coming off an easy 71-41 victory over Swallowfield All Stars on Saturday.

Marlon Beale, manager of the Spartans, said: "I think my team is a better team than Urban Knights and once we execute our game plan I expect us to come out with a victory.

"However, we have to play good, strong defence to win and stop the Urban Knights team from scoring freely against us," Beale said.

Shooting guard Lynford Brown, who has been the top shooter in the league this season, will lead the Spartans charge along with forward Christopher Jennings and centre Cleon McLean.

Meanwhile in Saturday's round of matches, Rebels defeated Eastern Pistons 70-60 and the Knights beat Blazers 57-42.

In the Central Conference Division, Victory edged Team AAAH 58-57 and Manchester Pytons thrashed Spaulding Hippers 72-38.