The Phi Kappa Pi Rams defeated the Pi Gamma Delta Royals 53-44 in a highly anticipated game Feb. 13, holding on to their first-place position on the men’s intramural basketball leaderboard.

The game started out slowly, with the Rams gradually starting to pull ahead by three points at 8-5.

The Rams then increased their lead to seven, 12-5, as senior Manny Rivero knocked in two points and senior Daniel Knox had a block and a transition layup off an assist from junior Micah Gold. Knox had six of the Rams’ first 12 points, giving his team the upper hand early on.

After a free throw by Royals senior David Overly, sophomore teammates Zech Heneveld and John Dahlhausen scored the rest of Pi Gamma’s first-half points. After falling down 17-10, the Royals were able to close the gap to three by halftime with the Rams leading 24-21.

The second half was faster-paced as both teams brought out renewed energy. Royals’ Heneveld and Dahlhausen placed constant pressure on the Rams, but the Rams’ Gold would not slow down, scoring 16 points in the second half.

Heneveld, however, tied the game at 24-24 five minutes into the second half. The teams swapped the lead before Pi Gamma jumped up to a 41-34 lead with just over six minutes left to play.

Rams senior James Liebmann nailed a 3-point shot to close the margin to four, 41-37.

After Rivero hit a shot, Gold fired in a 3-pointer that gave the Rams a one-point lead and all the momentum they needed to win the game. Now up 42-41, Phi Kappa never looked back. The Rams went on to win 53-44 to stay undefeated for the season.

The Rams’ Gold finished the night with 22 points, while the Royals’ Rivero, Heneveld and Dahlhausen recorded 13, 21 and 15, respectively.