Impressive Darius Rice sinks Isa Town

DARIUS Rice powered Manama to a crushing 83-64 victory over Isa Town last night in the Zain Bahrain Basketball League. Rice buried an impressive seven three-pointers en route to scoring a game-high 28 points to lead his team to the romp.

The six-foot, 10-inch big man from the US also grabbed 14 rebounds as Manama came away with their 10th win of their league campaign and moved to a tie in first place on the standings with bitter rivals Muharraq.

Point guard Ahmed Abdulaziz added 17 markers while versatile wing Bader Abdulla Malabes scored 14. Malabes also dished out six assists and committed zero turnovers.

Ahmed Al Mutawa added 13 points for Manama to go along with three blocks.

Rice was sinking baskets from all over the floor in yesterday's game, and made it look easy in the process.

After Manama took a 21-12 lead at the end of the opening quarter, Rice helped his side pull away in the second with a big triple late in the half to make it 41-23 heading into the break.

Rice continued his hot shooting in the third, connecting on another three long-range bombs in the period for a comfortable 61-33 advantage. They eventually went ahead 68-41 with just the last canto to play.

Such was Manama's dominance that even veteran forward Abdulmajeed Shahram, who was playing in his first game for the team after coming out of a one-and-a-half-year retirement, scored from beyond the arc.

Shahram put Manama 33 points in front with his basket, 81-48. It was their biggest lead of the night, and his shot drew the loudest cheers from the sparse crowd that was in attendance at Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam.

Isa Town managed to close the gap during garbage time with solid play from American professional Jamal Holden, and Bahraini talents Hassan Ramadan and Ali Traif.

Holden finished the game with a team-best 23 points and eight rebounds, but he was their lone player in double figures. Ramadan contributed nine points while Traif had eight.

Isa Town suffered their seventh loss after 12 games, but are still in contention for a berth in the six-team play-off round.

No league games are scheduled for tonight, but action resumes tomorrow with Muharraq taking on Al Ettihad at 5.30pm, followed by defending champions Al Ahli locking horns with Al Hala at 7.15pm.

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