Templeogue 68 UCD Marian 62: Templeogue won the Hula Hoops Pat Duffy Men’s National Cup final in a low-scoring game at the National Basketball Arena on Saturday.
The game was delicately poised with 15 seconds remaining with UCD in possession going up court when they were stopped in their tracks.
An amazing decision by referee Emma Perry will be talked about for many years in the sport.
UCD Marian coach Ionannis Liapakis encroached on court by accident and was punished with a technical foul that had the UCD Camp fuming.
By the letter of the law the decision was a correct one, but surely common sense should have prevailed.
The winning coach Mark Keenan, although delighted with his team’s win, was philosophical after the game.
Keenan said: “I am delighted for the guys and although I still think we would have won that late decision has put a little stain on our win.
“UCD defeated us by 19 points a fortnight ago and we needed to tweak a few things and yes I got the response expected from this fabulous group of players.”
The mood in the UCD Marian was one of disbelief with coach Liapakis in floods of tears and unable to give his view on the incident that possibly denied his team an opportunity to bring the game to extra-time.
However, UCD Marian ace guard Conor Meaney spoke of his annoyance at what he termed termed a ludicrous decision.
Meany said: “How a referee could make a call like that at such a late stage of a championship final beggars belief?
“Basketball is a game of emotion and all Ioannis was doing was encouraging our players to dribble the ball up court.
“There is no guarantee we would have levelled the game but don’t sicken a team in the manner we have been treated in the final possession.”
Templeogue’s Lorcan Murphy banked a nice jumper in the second minute that was cancelled out by a similar Mariusz Markowicz basket.
UCD Marian were in disarray in the opening exchanges and midway through the quarter they trailed 7-2.
It got worse for UCD with Templeogue punishing them at will, before consecutive Conor Meany baskets reduced the deficit to 16-9 entering the second quarter.
The biggest problem for UCD was their inability to get clear looks as Templeogue’s defence was excellent.
That trend changed on the restart as a stunning run by Dan James brought the minimum between the teams - 17-16 in the 13th minute.
Surprisingly, shooting percentages in the opening 15 minutes was less than 20% as some of the optionsbordered on ridiculous.
Lorcan Murphy was the one player excelling for Templeogue and when he nailed a stunning basket three minutes before the interval it gave his team a six-point lead.
The large attendance was waiting for this final to explode but following a Mike Garrow jumper with 38 seconds remaining UCD were now within three points of Templeogue.
That’s the way it stayed until half-time with Templeogue leading 32-30 but the stats painted a picture of a poor first half.
Despite leading, Templeogue had only shot 30% from the field with UCD Marian faring worse on 27%.
Amazingly, just when we thought it couldn’t get worse the opening exchanges of the third quarter continued the trend.
Following a brace of Garrow free-throws five minutes into the quarter the teams were level at 36 points each.
In the majority of finals you always get moments of excitement, but this was a drab affair despite the backing of both teams loyal supporters.
In the closing minutes the intensity picked up and a buzzer beater from Baolach Morrisson ensured Templeogue led 50-45 entering the final quarter.
Both teams gave their all coming down the stretch and with the game finally poised, we witnessed a decision that will have the basketball fraternity talking for some time.
Scorers for Templeogue:
L Murphy 23, M Bonaparte 17, J Killeen 14.
Scorers for UCD Marian:
C Meany 16, N Baynes 11, M Garrow 11.
C Steele, C Meany, M Markowicz, S Kinevane, M Premier, D James, B Drumm, M Kelly, D Ring, M Garrow, N Baynes, J V Liobera, E Nelson.
E Murphy. S Walsh, J Francis Basileu, L Thompson, M Bonaparte, I McKeon, S James, L Summers, K Arcilla, SS Bertran, B Morrison, J Killeen, N Randolph, L Murphy.
M Nazimek (Dublin), E Perry (Dublin), M McGettrick (Dublin).
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