Commonwealth Games: Scotland into basketball semi-finals

The Scotland players celebrate a point during their win over Nigeria
The Scotland players celebrate a point during their win over Nigeria
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Scotland are set for a mouthwatering semi-final against Australia in the Commonwealth Games men’s basketball after downing Nigeria in a tense last-eight tie.

City of Edinburgh Kings shooting guard Kyle Jimenez helped the Scots to a 66-61 victory in Cairns after a strong start was frittered away in the third quarter.

Scotland took the first quarter 23-16 before extending their lead to 40-28 at the half.

But Nigeria hit back in the third, outscoring the Scots 18-6 to leave the scores tied going into the final period.

And that’s where the Scots showed their mettle, battling through to take the victory by five points courtesy of a team-high 17 points from Gareth Murray.

“We’ve proved everyone wrong so far. Our aim is a medal. We’ve said that from the start. We’ve got to this point now – semi-final here we come,” said Jimenez.

And coach Rob Beveridge was somewhat lost for words at what his men have achieved, with Scotland now guaranteed at least a match for a bronze medal should they not get past Australia in the final four.

“I’m really overwhelmed,” he said. “We’ve had minimal preparation. The guys have just embraced me and embraced the team, we play for each other and it’s something special.

“This is the probably biggest thing that has ever happened for Scottish basketball.”

Team Scotland took a silver and a bronze in shooting. Aberdeen’s Neil Stirton finished second in the final of the Men’s 50m Rifle Prone while Ian Shaw and Sandy Walker got onto the podium in the Queen’s Prize Pairs.

Meanwhile, at the para-powerlifting, it was a case of four years on but still fourth for Micky Yule.

Yule came within one lift of a bronze medal in the men’s heavyweight division but saw his hopes dashed as India’s Sachin Chaudhary pipped him to the podium.

The 39-year-old The Musselburgh man scored 169.9 points thanks to a best lift of 174kg, leaving him 11.1 points off the podium.

“That position is cursing me at the moment. I’m working harder all the time but the competition is there,” he said.

“The Commonwealth Games is rightfully a hard competition and they don’t give away medals. You’ve got to earn it.”

Elsewhere, there were easy wins in badminton, squash and table tennis for Edinburgh athletes.

Martin Campbell and Julie MacPherson began their badminton mixed doubles campaign with a 21-5, 21-6 victory over Murad Ali and Mahoor Shahzad, in the first round – a tie that lasted just 18 minutes.

And, in the table tennis, Craig Howieson won two from two in Group 16 to progress to the next phase of the men’s singles.

First came a comfortable 11-8, 11-4, 11-9, 12-10 win over Mauritius’ Rhikesh Taucoory before Barbados’ Mark Dowell was downed 11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8.

In the squash, Greg Lobban and Alan Clyne defeated Zambia’s Manda Chilambwe and Kevin Ndhlovu 11-4, 11-4 in Pool B of the men’s doubles, which followed on from Lisa Aitken and Kevin Moran’s 11-2, 11-3 mixed doubles win over Caroline Laing and Jacob Kelly of the Cayman Islands in Pool H.There were defeats for Edinburgh athletes, though, as Aitken and Alison Thomson went down 11-10, 11-4 to Jenny Duncalf and Alison Waters in Pool B of the women’s doubles.

And Robin Miedzybrodzki could not help Scotland past England in the men’s beach volleyball quarter-finals as he and Seain Cook were beaten 21-14, 21-17 by Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf.

The women fared no better with Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts beaten 21-9, 21-9 by Canadian pairing Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes.

Both men’s and women’s hockey sides lost to Antipodean opponents. The men going down 5-2 to New Zealand and the women beaten 2-0 by Australia.

In the bowls, Lothians stars Alex Marshall, Ronnie Duncan and Derek Oliver teamed up with Paul Foster in the Fours to beat Singapore 29-5 while Midlothian’s Stacey McDougall was part of the triple which lost 17-10 to Malaysia.