UCC Demons 92 Irish TV Tralee Warriors 77: UCC Demons got their Men’s Super League off to a perfect start when they disposed of Irish TV Tralee Warriors before a capacity attendance at the Mardyke Arena last night. It was not a vintage Demons performance but they had enough to see off the league debutants.
The opening quarter belonged to the Kerry side, as they exposed Demons at both ends of the floor. Kieran Donaghy was posing Demons problems with his deft moves near the hoop, as the Warriors commanded a 14-9 lead in the fifth minute.
The home side used various rotations to get their house in order and the introduction of captain Kyle Hosford a minute later helped steady the ship.
A late rally coupled with a monstrous three-pointer from Shane Buckley on the buzzer tied the game at 21 points each entering the second quarter.
On the resumption, Demons looked the better side, as American Jacob Lawson registered four consecutive baskets.
The Warriors were dealt a blow in the 14th minute when they lost American Trae Pemberton with a leg injury.
Credit to the Tralee side, they battled back, with Fergal O’Sullivan and Darragh O’Hanlon nailing long-range three pointers.
The home crowd willed their side on, but a late Donaghy free throw helped reduce the deficit to five points at the break 46-41.
It got better for Demons on the restart, with Roy Downey and Carleton Cuff punishing the Warriors at will, as Demons surged into an 11-point lead, 54-43, in the 24th minute.
The standard dropped in the closing minutes of the quarter and Demons were fortunate to execute their second three-pointer on the buzzer, courtesy of Downey, for a 63-54 lead entering the final quarter.
Lawson produced a stunning basket on the restart as the home crowd were sensing their team were gaining control.
There was to be another twist in the tale, as the Tralee side found another gear and, when Darren O’Sullivan scored an unchallenged lay up with 7.29 remaining, the deficit was cut to seven points.
In the closing minutes, Demons inspired by Hosford punished the Warriors to eventually see off the visitors.
UCC Demons top scorers: Jacob Lawson 23, Kyle Hosford 17, Ciaran O’Sullivan 14.
Irish TV Tralee Warriors top scorers: Dusan Bogdanovic 16, Kieran Donaghy 15, Darragh O’Hanlon 14.
K Hosford, N Murphy, C Cuffe, A O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan, J Lawson, R O’Sullivan, L Carmody, S Buckley, D Bucan.
Irish TV Tralee Warriors:
K Donaghy, D O’Hanlon, J Dowling, T Pemberton, R Leonard, Ryan Leonard, D O’Sullivan, S Hannifin, F O’Sullivan, P McMahon, D Bogdanovic, G Murphy.
Martin McGettrick (Dublin), Dick Dunne (Dublin), Emma Perry (Dublin).
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