After two last-minute heartbreaking defeats at home, Moycullen are back on the road this weekend in their bid to claim a first Superleague basketball win this season.
Moycullen have little time to brood over missed chances last weekend as they face two away games this bank holiday weekend. On Saturday night they are up against Belfast Star, a team also seeking their first win of the campaign and with an inferior points difference, and this should provide Moycullen with a real opportunity to claim a victory. The westerners then head to Dublin where they will have a huge challenge to upset an unbeaten Killester on Monday afternoon.
Last weekend in front of another large home crowd in NUIG, Moycullen surrendered a 13-point fourth quarter lead after a string of late UCD Marian three-pointers to lose by 67 - 65.
For the second week in a row, the Moycullen supporters saw their side lead after the first, second and third quarters, only to tighten up with victory in sight.
"It was a devastating loss, no doubt about it," said Moycullen head coach Gerald Lyons. "I can't question the lads' effort, they gave it everything. Maybe we wanted to win too much and couldn't keep our composure when we needed it."
An aggressive start by Stephen Tummon, who had six first-quarter points and a brace of rebounds, saw Moycullen jump to an early double-digit lead. Amercian star Luke Enos commanded the full attention of the opposing defence with the majority of the home side's offence flowing through his hands.
While Enos did an excellent job of involving his team mates, the South Dakota native also connected on 24 points to lead all scorers in the game.
Added to stifling defence from Michael Dowd, Dylan Cunningham and Cian Nihill, Moycullen were fully deserving of their 11-point advantage at the end of the third quarter, leading 58 - 47.
Unfortunately Moycullen’s offence broke down as they neared the finishing line, only adding another seven points in the remaining 10 minutes of play.
Led by Dan James, who had nine fourth-quarter points, including two killer three-pointers as the game entered its closing minutes, Marian stole the momentum and regained the lead with two minutes left on the clock.
Costly free throw misses from Nihill, after he had levelled the sides once more, were followed by a big shot from Marian's 6'8" American Donnavan Stith. Although Enos answered with a basket, a James three-pointer gave the visitors a three-point lead with nine seconds left. A technical foul on Marian's captain Niall Meaney for delaying the game followed, handing Moycullen one last chance at glory by giving them two free throw shots and possession. Enos made both shots, leaving the sides separated by the narrowest of margins. However an ineffectual last offence saw Marian knock the ball loose, scoop up possession, and force a final foul in the resulting scramble. They tacked on the extra point from the free throw line to leave the final score Moycullen 65 UCD Marian 67.
Moycullen: Luke Enos (24 ), Cian Nihill (13 ), Stephen Tummon (10 ), Michael Dowd (7 ), Paul O'Brien (6 ), Dylan Cunningham (4 ), James Loughnane (1 ), Eoghan Maxwell, Nollaig Cunningham, Ian Burke.