The Limerick side had only lost one game all season, to second placed UCC Demons, and entered the game as big favourites. However when Jason Killeen got in early foul trouble, the Saints had a massive advantage in size where Conor Grace and Martins Provisors combined for 31 points.
“I know people looking at our records might have thought Eagles would beat us for sure but I have been saying all year that when we play well, we can beat any team, we just hadn’t always played to our best,” said Saints’ head coach Dave Donnelly.
“We took advantage of the fact we were bigger than them. After Killeen went to the bench they tried to go small but we handled their quickness pretty well. They got it back to maybe seven or eight now and again but we generally held our lead all game.”
Bord Gáis Neptune’s Darren Townes converted two late steals against Killester to snatch victory at the IWA Centre in Clontarf, 78-80.
“We had 25 turnovers which is far too many and were down 10 midway through the third quarter but we showed great character I think to stay in the mix and come through in the end,” said Neptune coach, Mark Scannell.
And it could have been the perfect weekend for Neptune had UCD Marian overcame UCC Demons at the Mardyke Arena. However, in another exciting game, Demons held on to claim a 67-64 win to close the gap on UL Eagles.
“Kenton [Walker] was awesome today. We maybe didn’t use him enough during the third and fourth but he came up big in the end,” said Demons head coach Paul Kelleher.
“This was a great character win for us and we need these type of wins as we begin to look to bigger matches to come.”
Meanwhile, in the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, UL Huskies maintained their 100% record with victory over DCU Mercy.
These two teams have won the last three National Cups, and along with Team Montenotte Hotel Cork, have dominated the women’s game.
Mercy shocked the reigning champions and jumped out to an 11-point half-time lead before a furious Huskies comeback shortened the gap to just one entering the fourth quarter, where they pushed on the for the win.
“This group of players we have here in UL keep on surprising me every week with what they are capable of,” gushed James Weldon, Huskies head coach.
“To come from 16 down in a gym packed with the other team’s supporters and a hostile environment was superb.”
Team Montenotte Hotel Cork comfortably defeated Killester in Dublin 57-83 with the Dwyer sisters, Grainne and Niamh, combining for 40 points while Tomica Bacic had another stellar performance with 23 points of her own.
WIT Wildcats beat Singletons SuperValu Brunell 78-62 on Saturday in Waterford despite an inspired performance by Edel Thornton for Brunell, 78-62. Elsewhere Meteors secured their third win of the season as they overcame Liffey Celtics 73-32.