KIU Titans have an ambition of becoming genuine Airtel National Basketball League title contenders this year after so many seasons as pretenders.
Tanzanian guard Chris Omanye is supposed to take the mantle. On Sunday, he played both hero and villain as KIU lost for a first time this year, a 73-71 overtime defeat by UCU Canons.
Omanye, 21 points, made both free throws to send the game into an extra period. He made 10 for 10 from the charity line including those two with six seconds on the clock to tie the game at 57-up.
The umpire gave the UCU coach Nicholas Natuhereza a technical foul when Joseph Chuma attempted to make it a four-point game.
The lead changed hands on numerous occasions during the additional five minutes until Omanye committed a reaching foul on Boniface Okello.
As the forward converted for UCU, Omanye had fouled out. In five minutes, the presumed leader of this exciting side had played hero and villain to throw away a game they should have won.
Gritty defence gave them a double-digit lead. Even when UCU trimmed it to seven heading into the fourth period, KIU had limited Sudi Ulanga for most of the game.
The shooting guard came through the challenge with a game-high 22 points despite not scoring in the first period. Ivan Rumanyika’s 17 points, 13 rebounds and three steals swung the game significantly. The season’s first overtime game also had Sam Aguti and Subbi Kasujja impress with a futile 15 and 14 points respectively, the former adding five assists.