UL Eagles 59
Moycullen take a break from Superleague basketball action following another heartbreaking loss at NUIG on Saturday.
Looking good to take the scalp of the UL Eagles, Moycullen were undone in the final seconds when two free throws with time expired handed their opponents a dramatic one-point win.
With Moycullen having led the Eagles throughout the fourth quarter, a foul was called during the scramble for the ball and, much to the outrage of the home support, two free shots were awarded to Limerick.
With Moycullen ahead by one, Jason Kileen coolly connected on both attempts to give his team the narrowest of victories.
“It was a cruel way to lose,” said Moycullen head coach Gerald Lyons. “To have battled like the lads did all game against a team with such a size advantage and lose it, that is tough.
“We played defence as well as we have all season and, even without James Loughnane who is one of our best defenders, we held them under 60 points. Unfortunately we just couldn’t get enough scores to push out our lead when we were on top.”
Moycullen began the game brightly with a balanced attack that spread the scoring among four players. Meanwhile their decision to double team Eagles’ inside players bore fruit defensively as they held the Shannonsiders to just 1- first-quarter points.
The Galway outfit deservedly took in a four-point half-time lead, although worryingly for coach Lyons, Eagles were beginning to slow the game down to a pace that suited their size advantage, limiting Moycullen’s fast break opportunities.
A strong third period by Eagles’ senior international point guard Scott Kinnevane, who had seven points in the quarter, helped draw the teams level as they entered the final 10 minutes.
A greater worry for coach Lyons, however, was that his star American centre Luke Enos had to be carried off the court after he twisted his ankle jumping for a rebound.
While Enos played through the pain barrier and re-entered the game before its conclusion, he was not the same player and, for the first time all season, failed to score in the fourth quarter.
Despite this Moycullen still looked likely to win, with baskets from Salva Camps and Cian Nihill regaining the lead for their team. It was not to be, however, and Moycullen will look back on this game as another missed opportunity in a season in which they have shave competed so well against the top teams in Irish basketball.
Moycullen’s next game is against league champions Killester of Dublin in NUI Galway on Saturday January 21 at 4pm.
Moycullen: Luke Enos (20 ), Salva Camps (13 ), Cian Nihill (12 ), Paul O’Brien (6 ), Michael Dowd (5 ), Eoghan Maxwell (2 ), Dylan Costello, Patrick Lyons, Dylan Cunningham, Ian Burke.