SSE Airtricity Moycullen Basketball face a tough assignment in the Super League when they head to the capital to take on perennial title contenders Killester on Saturday (6pm ).
Coach John Cunningham says Moycullen know what to expect from the Clontarf outfit.
“It will be a battle, but if we can take on board the lessons from last weekend, and play with the intensity we showed in the second half, I feel we're ready to really put it up to them.”
Coming off a derby-win over rivals Maree on opening night, Moycullen had high hopes of making it two from two when they entertained DCU at the Kingfisher. However a tentative start, coupled with some sustained DCU sharpshooting, meant Moycullen suffered an 85-78 defeat.
DCU never gave Moycullen the opportunity to get into an offensive rhythm, and Moycullen failed to respect the range of the DCU guards, who punished them from distance.
“They connected on some three-pointers, and that left us in an early 14-point hole which we had to work hard to dig ourselves out of,” says Cunningham.
Moycullen had to dig deep to keep the game from slipping out of their grasp, with most of Moycullen’s scoring from their trio of inside players, Irish senior international Paul Freeman, American import Brandon Mcguire, and Joseph Tummon.
“We fought back slowly, had it back to six at the end of the quarter, but then we missed way too many scoring opportunities and turned over too much possession in the second, and they were able to build up their lead again."
DCU’s lead rose to 20 points midway through the second quarter, leaving Moycullen with a lot of work to do, but they looked a different side after the restart.
Guards James Loughnanne, Patrick Lyons and Mindaugus Kurcenkovas each picked up steals and ran in some fastbreak layups in the third. Once again, they reduced the lead, but two quick DCU threes in the dying moments of that quarter broke some of the momentum.
The fourth quarter was the home side’s best. Dylan Cunningham, Loughnane, Conor Curran and Cian Nihill looked aggressive on the offensive end, and with a significant home contingent behind them, the Connemara side cut the lead to single-digits for the first time since the opening minutes.
However, it was simply a case of too little too late as some late DCU free throws ensured their lead could not be erased.
Moycullen scorers: Paul Freeman (15 ), James Loughnanne (12 ) Dylan Cunningham (9 ), Cian Nihill (9 ), Mindaugas Kurcenkovas (9 ), Joseph Tummon (7 ), Conor Curran (3 ) Kyle Cunningham (2 ) Patrick Lyons (1 ) Rory Gilson, Sean Candon.
Superleague newcomers Maree had a difficult encounter when they suffered a 109-64 loss to Belfast Star. Maree will be looking for a strong home support when they return to Calasanctius College, Oranmore, on Saturday when they take on Garveys Tralee Warriors at 7.45pm.
Moycullen scorers: Paul Freeman (15 ), James Loughnane (12 ) Dylan Cunningham (9 ), Cian Nihill (9 ), Mindaugas Kurcenkovas (9 ), Joseph Tummon (7 ), Conor Curran (3 ) Kyle Cunningham (2 ) Patrick Lyons (1 ) Rory Gilson, Sean Candon.