In the second of a back-to-back Superleague fixture Moycullen face DCU Saints at the Kingfisher Gym in NUIG on Saturday (4pm ).
It is the first home match for the Moycullen basketball club and they will be keen to grab their first win of the season, having fallen to the Saints last weekend by 95 - 83.
Although the 12-point loss was a fair reflection of the game, Moycullen will still feel it could have gone the other way, ensuring this weekend’s return fixture will be keenly contested.
Moycullen coach Gerald Lyons will be hoping home support will provide that extra boost for Moycullen to dig out a few more defensive stops that would have had his team celebrating a win on Saturday instead of lamenting another ‘could have been’.
“Next week is huge for us,” he says. “It’s our first home game and all the lads are really anxious to reward the people who continue to show us great support.”
Last weekend an offensive explosion from Moycullen’s new American star Luke Enos was not enough to see the Galwegians defeat DCU Saints in a thriller on Sunday in Dublin.
Enos, who contributed 32 points in the contest, had his side within seven with five minutes left in the game which saw the two teams score a combined 178 points.
Matches turn on small margins, however, and when Moycullen missed a three-pointer which would have cut the lead to four, Saints coolly ran down the clock on their next possession before converting a three, pushing the lead to 10. Fouling to stop the clock from that point onwards, Moycullen continued to score, but Saints made enough free throws to secure their second win in as many games.
Moycullen got off to a shaky start when captain and point guard Michael Dowd picked up two early fouls and had to go to the bench. With James Loughnane missing from the Sunday line up, Cían Nihill took over ball handling duties and Dylan Cunningham, Paul O’Brien and Eoghan Maxwell had to step up defensively on the quick Saints’ guards. Moycullen handled the transition well, trailing by just three at the end of the first quarter, 21 to 18.
As both teams would normally consider their greatest strength to be defence, the free-flowing scoring that followed the opening exchanges no doubt surprised a few spectators in the DCU Sports Centre. Moycullen had a definite mismatch inside with Stephen Tummon and Enos becoming the focal point of the offence, but Saints also found ways to score, led by Irish international point guard Emmet Donnelly who pulled the strings. As such, little continued to separate the teams, seven points being the margin as the third quarter came to a close.
While Moycullen teetered on the edge of making that all-important run to finally go ahead, they could not get the stops defensively needed to reward their scoring touch on offence. Enos battled manfully, delivering 10 of Moycullen’s final 13 points in the game.
Saints, however, are an experienced outfit and handled the closing minutes impeccably, knocking down the killer free throws that kept the young challengers at bay.
Moycullen: Luke Enos (32 ), Stephen Tummon (17 ), Cían Nihill (14 ), Dylan Cunningham (9 ), Paul O’Brien (8 ), Michael Dowd (3 ), Kevin Folan, Eoghan Maxwell, Nollaig Cunningham, Ian Burke.