February 24, 2017 09:19 PM

 Chennai (Sports)

Haryana Gold took on the Punjab Steelers looking for their very first win of the season. Punjab won the tip off and both teams exchanged empty possessions to start the game. Yadwinder Singh hit the first basket for Haryana off a pretty spin move leading to a jumper and Dermaine Crockrell got four points right back on layups for Punjab.  Punjab seemed to be looking for any opportunity to push the pace as Akilan Pari and Dermaine seemed to fly in the open court. Prakash Mishra showed his range from downtown as he calmly hit his first three of the game for Haryana. The first quarter was a low scoring affair as Punjab led Haryana 16-15. They were led by 7 points from Crockrell.

Eban assisted Birender Singh to start off the second quarter for Haryana and Crockrell answered with a double-clutch layup. Prakash hit nothing but net with a long jumper as Haryana took a 22-18 lead. Haryana seemed to click on both ends as they pressured Punjab to commit a shot clock violation. As usual, Crockrell came to Punjab’s rescue with flying drives inside. At the end of the first half, Haryana led Punjab 40-32. They were led by Prakash Mishra’s 17 points and Eban Hyams’ 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Crockrell was the only player from Punjab to score in the second quarter.

Yadwinder started the second half with a powerful move inside to give Haryana a ten point lead. Haryana raced off to increase their lead to 52-34 as Punjab called a timeout to halt their momentum. De’Sean Mattox was without a shot attempt in the first half and he started the second by aggressively attacking the rim to help fuel the run. At the end of the third quarter, Haryana led Punjab 59-50. They had four players in double figures through three quarters as Prakash Mishra, Jaskaran, Eban Hyams and Yadwinder Singh combined for 48 points through three quarters.Ravi started off the fourth quarter for Punjab with a turnaround jumper. Crockrell wasn’t ready to throw in the towel as he hit a three to bring Punjab within 67-61. He then hit free throws, scored off an alley-oop and hit another pair of free throw to bring Punjab to within one. Eban Hyams answered with a strong turnaround post move to give Haryana a 69-66 lead. Crockrell hit a three to bring Punjab within 71-69 but Prakash answered with a soft jumper inside. Crockrell tried to answer from downtown on the ensuing possessions but was unable to connect and Haryana pulled away to their first win.Players of the game: Dermaine Crockrell (Punjab)(International), Prakash Mishra (Indian). Haryana Gold (Prakash Mishra 20 pts, Jaskaran 16 pts, Eban Hyams 12 pts) bt Punjab Steelers 77-71 (Dermaine Crockrell  45 pts, Ravi Bhardwaj 11 pts, Akilan Pari 6 pts).

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