Ireland beat Luxembourg

Ireland warmed up for their upcoming European qualifiers with a comprehensive 84-58 win over Luxembourg at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght tonight.

Ireland warmed up for their upcoming European qualifiers with a comprehensive 84-58 win over Luxembourg at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght tonight.

Greg Gurr’s charges looked particularly fresh after their training week in Sligo and can now look ahead to their opening European qualifier with optimism.

Ireland went into a commanding lead in the first quarter (27-16) with some fine play against the dogged visitor’s from Luxembourg.

Luxembourg were early out of the tracks with a two pointer from Pitt Koster but Greg Gurr’s charges responded well with Conor Grace (2) and a superb three pointer from Paul Cummins putting the home side back in command.

Sammy Picard restored parity with a three pointer just moments later but scores from Cummins, Michael Bree and a brace from Mihajlo Pesic put Ireland 13-5 ahead.

Peter Rajmiak and Marco Leschek put a temporary halt to Ireland’s scoring spree until a couple of free throws and a two pointer from the impressive Cummins gave Ireland a 19-9 advantage.

The remainder of the first quarter provided plenty of sparring in the points stake before Mihajlo struck a three pointer to leave Ireland with an early 11 point lead.

Justen Naughton gave the enthusiastic crowd something to shout about with a slam just seconds into the second quarter but Luxembourg equally enthralled the crowd just seconds later with a fabulous three point finish from the impressive Rajmiak.

The powerful number 14 pushed Luxembourg even closer with a two pointer before Cummins got in on the three point scoring act.

Luxembourg battled hard to stay close to the Irish but the gap was extended to 13 points with some fine scores coming courtesy of David Mitchell, Liam Farrell and Ian O’Boyle.

Ireland continued to dominate with Mitchell playing a major role in the closing stages of the quarter to help Ireland to a 52-33 lead at the break.

It was more of the same in the third quarter with Jason Killeen’s two pointer getting Ireland off to a flier before further scores from Pesic and Cummins left Ireland firmly in control. Luxembourg refused to lie down and stayed in the game through the scoring of captain Rajmiak, Leschek and consecutive scores from Weisen to leave the score 61-42 in favour of Ireland.

The comeback was brief with Ireland once again coming back strongly with a slam from Farrell the highlight of the closing stages of the quarter. Luxembourg had a lot to do in the final quarter with a deficit of 22 points to be caught (69-47).

Luxembourg threatened early in the final quarter through a lay-up from Pitt Koster and a free throw from Leschek. Mark Reynolds and Colm O’Reilly continued the impressive scoring for Ireland and by the time Pesic added another two pointer there was no way back for Fischer Mathias’ outfit. The forward further tormented the visitor’s defence with a two pointer followed by a free throw.

A fine display was rounded off by Cummins’ late two pointer before Rajmiak and Frank Hoffman secured some consolation to leave the score a healthy win for Ireland by 84-58.

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