BASKETBALL: Wits Bucks win at home over UJ Orange Wave 

Wits men’s basketball team defeat 2022 Gauteng Universities Basketball League champions University of Johannesburg (UJ). 

Wits University men’s basketball team secured a 56 – 51 victory over UJ senior men’s team, qualifying for the next stage of the Gauteng Universities Basketball League (GUBL) tournament.  

Wits Bucks’ Jacques Mahanga dribbling from half-court to the rim. Photo: Morongoa Masebe.

The Wits Bucks hosted rivals and defending champions, UJ Orange Wave, on Wits’ west campus in Hall 29, on Sunday May, 21. 

From the first whistle UJ dominated the game, with Peace Famodimu securing two points, only three minutes into the start of the first quarter.  

Wits Bucks responded quickly, equalising the score, but UJ wasted no time in regaining their advantage, with an impressive three-pointer from Nimo Dim. This was the first of the two three-pointers by the same player, that put UJ well in the lead for the rest of the first quarter. 

UJ’s defence seemed impenetrable as the Wits side struggled to keep the ball out of their half of the court. The man-to-man defence of the UJ side helped them apply pressure and maintain possession of the ball. 

The match was tight throughout, although UJ stayed in the lead for most of the first and second quarters, it was always with a one or two-point margin.  

Towards the end of the second quarter, Wits Bucks’ small forward, Panashe Dumbu’s basket brought the score to a tie, after scoring two free throws. Wits quickly gained the lead when shooting guard, Jacques Mahanga dribbled twice past UJ’s tight defence to sink the ball in the hoop, but the lead was short-lived. 

When a Wits player was tackled, the Wits coach shouted profanities at the referee for not calling the foul. The coach’s actions cost the team two technical fouls, resulting in three free throws for the away side. Two of the three free throws hit the mark. 

UJ went into the third quarter without their captain Adrien Belo, who was taken out with an ankle injury at the end of the second quarter.  

The third quarter saw four more points awarded to Wits Bucks, and the gradual end of UJ’s lead.   

Thandiwe Padzuwa, a spectator, told Wits Vuvuzela that “UJ was under pressure, and they started fumbling the ball too much. They started committing a lot of turnovers”. A turnover is a loss of possession, due to fouls or defensive rebounds.  

Wits Bucks strengthened their defence in the last quarter, and had every man tightly marked, making it difficult for UJ to find space to move the ball.  

UJ Player Davison Chivero said his team was expecting to win but they were hesitant. He said Wits Bucks “were winning every chance ball, I think they were a bit more eager to win than we were”.  

Wits Bucks coach Tshiamo Ngakane said that they have beaten UJ before and walked into the game with high expectations, “it’s always a big game, it’s always a tough game, but we have got a good squad.”  

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Bucks’ Panashe Dumbu (13) defending with both hands up. Photo: Morongoa Masebe.


Wits basketball players on national duty

Wits Basketball Lady Bucks players, Modiegi Mokoka, Fortunate Bosega and Bronwyn Tyler are among the 12 players selected to represent the South African national basketball team in the upcoming FIBA Africa Zone VI qualifiers.

The Lady Bucks players were called up by the national squad after they performed well at the national senior provincial games held in September 2014 at Wits.

Through various intense training sessions and camps that ended in January they made the official squad that will be competing with teams from the southern hemisphere to qualify for the All African Games.

Motivation not an issue

Mokoka is “extremely excited” to be called up by the national team saying, “not many get the chance to do so.”

“It’s a goal most, if not all, serious participating athletes have. We kill ourselves in our respective fields to possibly be recognised one day. Motivation has never been an issue, striving to get better and compete overwhelmingly well is something inert with most athletes, myself included,” said Mokoka.

“We kill ourselves in our respective fields to possibly be recognised one day.”

But Witsies won’t just be playing for South Africa, several other students will be playing for other African nations.

Yowana Nyangu, who plays for the Lady Bucks, will represent the Zimbabwean ladies team while Wits Buck’s Munyaradzi Andrew Gonese will represent the Zimbabwean men’s side. All five students will be in action in the FIBA Zone VI qualifiers in Zimbabwe this coming week.

An achievement unique to Wits

Mokoka, who is proud of her team, said: “Winning nationals then having our ladies represent their national teams is an achievement no other group in the university can acclaim”.

South Africa will start playing in the qualifier next week. They need to beat Zimbabwe and Botswana to move on.