UCD Marian 77 (34)
Moycullen 56 (30)
Moycullen were unable to turn a strong defensive performance on the road into a win as a formidable UCD Marian starved the visitors of good offensive looks in a 77 to 56 loss in Dublin.
The game looked to be on a knife edge at 40 points apiece heading to the end of the third quarter. However, in a game where neither side seemed capable of finding a scoring rhythm, UCD’s Serbian sharpshooter Srdjan Stojanovic broke free for a flurry of scores to end the period helping his side to a 48 to 40 end of period lead.
From there, while Moycullen huffed and puffed, they never looked genuinely like overturning UCD as Stojanovic continued his onslaught, now joined by his American teammate Jonathan Jean who was finding his shooting touch after what had been a tough night.
Moycullen on the other had were ably led by their American Grant Olsson, who had 17 points and new Turkish signing Ayberk Taylan, who had 16, but failed to generate scores from their remaining Irish contingent who combined for just 23 points total.
“Once again, a tremendous physical effort from the lads and our defence was really superb,” said Moycullen head coach John Cunningham.
“We were probably just forced out of rhythm on the other side of the court by an aggressive UCD defence and didn’t create enough high percentage scoring chances to be there in the end challenging to win.”
On Sunday, five early points from Eoghan Kelly, who is having an outstanding campaign in his season back home from his time in college in the United States, settled Moycullen in the opening exchanges.
In a sign of things to come however, Moycullen would manage only three more points in the quarter, a two from wing Josh Marvesley and a solitary free throw by Taylan.
UCD were not exactly stroming ahead on the other end as the usual Moycullen defensive squeeze was proving difficult for the Dubliners to untangle. However,they did connect on several three pointers which was enough to give them a ten point lead 18 to 8 at the end of the first quarter.
Moycullen then had the better of the second quarter, although scoring returns for both sides remained measly. A three pointer from veteran Dylan Cunningham was followed by two more from the impressive Taylan. This belated scoring run had the men from the west very much in the contest and down by just four at the half, 34 to 30.
While Moycullen could not be said to be flowing offensively, their defence truly was formidable and head coach John Cunningham must have been delighted to hold one of the real scoring powerhouses in Irish basketball, UCD Marian, to just 34 in the half.
A tit for tat, neck and neck scoreline looked like it was going to be on the cards when Moycullen continued their good play in the third quarter. Olsson became increasingly influential and scores from Kelly and Kyle Cunningham had Moycullen level at 40 apiece.
The scoring blitz from UCD’s Stojanovic dashed the travelling supporters hopes of a rip-roaring finishing quarter however as his late third quarter contribution broke the visitor’s momentum and had UCD up by 11 entering the final period.
Unfortunately for Moycullen, they never recovered and though Olsson in particular battled gamely to the end, UCD had found their flow and poured in 26 fourth quarter points to in the end run out 77 to 56 winners.
Moycullen now look ahead to their last game of the calendar year this Sunday coming when Killester travel to Coláiste Bhaile Chláir for a 3pm tip off.
Note – we play next Sunday in Coláiste Bhaile Chláir at 3pm v Killester and as numbers will be limited there will be a live stream, with details to follow on the website home page.