A packed-out NUIG Galway Kingfisher gym saw SSE Airtricity Moycullen entertain the league-leading Templeogue BC this past Saturday in what was an enthralling contest throughout.
Moycullen looked sharp in the early goings.
Patrick Lyons and James Loughnanne put in solid shifts at both ends, harassing Templeogue’s guards on the defensive end; while carrying some of the scoring load on offense. Loughnane, Lyons and Philip Lawrence-Ricks each hit three-point shots to help Moycullen get off to an ideal start.
Templeogue though, could only be denied for so long. Through their centre, Superleague veteran Jason Killeen, the Dublin side picked up some easy baskets. Their American player Mike Bonaparte contributed too, converting from long-distance, and in the low-post area. By the end of the first Templeogue had edged themselves in front 22-19.
Moycullen stayed aggressive for most of the second period- Loughnane, Lyons and Dylan Cunningham looked to push the fast-break at every available opportunity. Midway through the second Templeogue upped their defensive intensity, and Moycullen’s offense began to slow. Eventually the Dubliners opened up a 12-point lead.
Through their sharpshooting guards though Moycullen were able to stay within reaching distance of the visitors, reducing the lead to 9 by the halftime whistle.
The Galway men continued to shoot well from beyond the arc in the third with Lyons, Loughnane and Joe Tummon each connecting from long-distance. After a personal 8-0 scoring run from Loughnane, Moycullen had reduced the Templeogue lead to 2 once again.
Despite some exceptional defence from Sean Candon and Rory Gilson, Templeogue’s two American players, Bonaparte and Puff Summers, started to come into the game more towards the end of the third quarter. Behind their contributions, the Dublin side pushed their lead back up to 5.
Patrick Lyons picked up two steals and drilled a three-pointer to get Moycullen off the mark in the fourth. Unfortunately, Moycullen’s offense began to falter thereafter.
Templeogue’s guards looked to feed Killeen inside on every offense, and his physicality and size proved to much for Moycullen’s post-players. Able to establish position early and with poor pressure on the Templeogue entry pass, he had a field day inside, finishing with 28 points in total.
Paul Freeman, Lyons and Lawrence Ricks each picked up baskets for Moycullen late on, but in the end, Templeogue’s squad-depth and offensive-efficiency saw them increase their lead on successive offenses and secure the victory 84- 70.
While the 14 point gap at the end may have flattered the Dublin outfit, they showed exactly why they are League leaders and have suffered only 1 defeat in the campaign so far. They were pushed all the way by SSE Airtricity Moycullen but clinical execution when they needed scores & making the correct decision down the stretch was key to their performance.
While obviously disappointed with the result, SSE Airtricity Moycullen can be happy with the performance against the top team in the Country. Cutting down on turnovers with the game in the balance will be a focus for the team over the remaining weeks and they can look forward to the last two games with much optimism. Repeat displays while getting rid of those silly mistakes will have them in with a great shot of wins in both games
Next week sees SSE Airtricity Moycullen travel to Limerick for a game against Radisson BLU UL Eagles on Saturday, before they return to the Kingfisher for their final game of the season on March 18 against UCD Marian, that games tips-off at 7pm.