SSE Airtricity Moycullen returned to the hardwood for the season opener against Super League newcomers’ KUBS on Saturday evening in Dublin. It was a new look for the Moycullen side, with John Cunningham making his debut as head coach along with new American player Philip Lawrence-Ricks.
Both teams got off to a quick start in the first quarter, trading baskets each time down the floor. Lawrence-Ricks did not take long to adjust to the Irish style of play, carrying the offensive load along with Dylan Cunningham. By the end of the quarter, both teams were neck and neck with Moycullen leading 23-19.
The 2nd quarter was another back and forth affair. KUBS’ big men proved a headache for Moycullen’s defense, as they demonstrated impressive inside scoring as KUBS took the lead. However, two back to back three pointers from James Loughnane helped Moycullen close the gap and gain some momentum. First year player Conor Curran did not shy away from his defensive assignment, as he hounded kubs American. Despite Moycullen’s improvement in play, they were now trailing 39-41 by Halftime.
Moycullen found their groove in the second half with valuable offensive input from Kyle Cunningham, who connected with Joseph Tummon for some easy baskets. Paul Freeman and Lawrence-Ricks dominated the glass, allowing for some quick transition scores and second chance points. Patrick Lyons found himself at the line on numerous occasions, scoring four consecutive free throws to help Moycullen build a comfortable lead going into the final quarter.
Moycullen’s solid play carried over into the 4th quarter, with another debutant John Hackett impressing on his introduction. Solid defence and good offense execution allowed them to maintain their lead and sail to the final buzzer with the score 89-73. Phillip Lawrence-Ricks finished the game with a spectacular double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. Dylan Cunningham kicked off the season with an impressive performance, scoring 20 points and soaring for an aerial assault against the rim in the games closing moments of the game.
Overall, it was a great opener for SSE Airtricity Moycullen, who will look to repeat their solid play for next weekend’s home game against DCU saints in the Kingfisher at 7:00pm.
Phillip Lawrence-Ricks (24), Dylan Cunningham (20), James Loughnane (9), Joseph Tummon (9), Paul Freeman (9), Kyle Cunningham (7), Patrick Lyons (7), Conor Curran (4), John Hackett (1).