DCU SAINTS consolidated their position at the top of the Nivea for Men SuperLeague table with back-to-back victories over 11890 Killester and Belfast Star, but the big story of the weekend was undoubtedly Moycullen’s historic 74-71 victory over Bord Gáis Neptune on Saturday night.
They recorded their first win of the campaign over Belfast Star a week earlier but it was feared the Galway side might suffer a backlash from Mark Scannell’s side whose early season form collapsed under two uncharacteristic losses.
Big performances from Moycullen’s American Luke Enos, who contributed 30 points, and their ever-present danger man Cian Nihill, who added another 22, kept them in touch.
They led by a point, 34-33, at half-time but showed real character under pressure in the closing stages when Neptune battled their way back into the lead.
With less than a minute on the clock Neptune led by a point, but then Dylan Cunningham took control. He rebounded a missed shot and, after scoring the winning basket, drew the foul that sealed victory.
“We were so nervous during this game because every player knew what was at stake,” said Moycullen coach, Ger Lyons.
“Being down after the first quarter really could have turned the game either way but the guys made a bigger effort on defence and brought it back slowly. We knew we should have won our last two games so this is a well-deserved win.”
DCU Saints remain in pole position in the Northern Conference after a comfortable 93-69 victory over Killester in Saturday’s derby followed by an emphatic 79-63 win over Belfast Star yesterday.
Ever-reliable Pat Glover won the praise of coach Dave Donnelly for his 38-point contribution.
“Pat has really been our consistent go-to guy,” he said. “We tried some new substitutions this weekend and both Glover and Mike Trimmer really stepped up to the mark.
“While the final score lines are flattering, they don’t really reflect the amount of effort put in by Glover and the team.”
UCC Demons’ coach Paul Kelleher has been working on their defence and offence through the early part of the season and again reaped rewards in the form of a 75-71 victory over UL Eagles at the Parochial Hall yesterday.
“UL share the ball quite well and everyone was scoring throughout the game,” said Kelleher.
“We had to play honest and make sure everyone was covered because they did not make it easy on us.”
Belfast Star had another miserable weekend, losing to UCD Marian 79-63 on Saturday and then to DCU Saints by the same score line yesterday.
Marian desperately needed this win over Star which saw Donnie Stith and Dan James combine for 40 points to put the cup champions back on the winning trail.
“We really blew it last weekend so this win was needed to boost our confidence,” said coach Fran Ryan.
“To experience your worst loss in three years and return with a 16-point victory is a demonstration that we are improving.”
In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, UL kept their unbeaten record intact with an emphatic 87-71 win over Team Montenotte Hotel Cork, with Rachel Vanderwal hitting 27 points and Aoife McDermott adding 12.
“We had a great third quarter which allowed me to rotate players to keep the team fresh,” said UL coach James Weldon.