Moycullen 70 (35)
NUIG 86 (41)
A rip-roaring start to the third quarter proved decisive for the nominal visiting team, NUIG Maree, as they drove home their advantage to see out a crucial win against Moycullen in the NUIG Sports Arena.
A crucial turning point came right at the death of the first half when a missed opportunity by Moycullen was followed up by a three point play in the closing seconds from NUIG to give the latter a six point lead at the interval.
With the large crowd in attendance expecting a tight and tense second half, such hopes were mercilessly dashed by NUIG and particularly the at times unstoppable Jeryn Lucas, as the students went on a big run to start the third quarter.
When the dust had settled, Moycullen found themselves having gone from the one basket deficit that had existed for most of the first half to a twenty point hole entering the fourth quarter.
It was to prove far too big a gap and while Moycullen, led by superb individual efforts by Grant Olsson and Kyle Cunningham, did get the lead back to 12, they could never draw closer.
In the end, NUIG have to be credited for a fully deserved win as Oranmore man Eoin Rockall masterfully orchestrated a devastating import quartet of Deondre Jackson, Lovre Tvrdic, Jeryn Lucas and Luka Krajic.
The final week of the Basketball Ireland Superleague season sees Moycullen host back to back home games in NUIG Sports Arena, Saturday at 3pm against Kerry side Killorglin and Sunday at 4pm against the famed Neptune BC of Cork City.
Both are teams that Moycullen have historically had success against at underage and senior rank but who they struggled mightily with this season.
On the back of a series of recent losses, Moycullen head coach John Cunningham is keen to finish the season on a positive.
“A colossal amount goes in to having a Superleague team, both from the players and the club as whole. We would love, for that reason if nothing else, to finish on a positive and hopefully two wins in front of our home fans.
“We have played well at times recently but struggled perhaps to score in stretches. If we can find a shooting touch, we know from past results we can beat anyone. We need to find that in time for the weekend because that is it, the season ends and it is a long wait for October and a chance for redemption.”
The schedule of games for Moycullen is Saturday at 3pm against Killorglin followed up by a 4pm meeting on Sunday against Neptune.
The individual match-ups on paper look a tough challenge for the Galwegians, having lost on the road to Killorglin back in October 90 to 64 and to Neptune 96 to 71 in February.
However, both defeats, and the size of the margin, will have come as somewhat of a shock and Moycullen will hope represent merely a bad day at the office rather than a gap in talent or ability.
The weekend will tell the true story and present a good measure of home advantage where one would expect a healthy home crowd in for the last weekend of the season before Superleague basketball takes a long break until the October 2022 restart.