Titans Basketball overcame a poor start to triumph over UCC Blue Demons in Saturday evening’s division one contest in Renmore.
The 79-76 win ensures MOF Titans have taken pole position in the southern conference, one point ahead of their Cork rivals, and with two big games this weekend, including a home game against old rivals Castleisland, Titans can win the conference and ensure a home semi-final in the play-offs.
For periods of last Saturday’s opening half it did not look favourable for the home side as the Demons leapt into a 25-15 lead, and the only early bright spot for Titans was Paulius Peldzius who scored 10 of Titans’ first 15 points to keep them within touching distance.
However the home side eventually found their rhythm, slowing down the Demons’ defence while Brendan Barile found his range from outside the three-point line, making six three-pointers.
Trailing by only two points, 34-36, going into the third, Titans could not get ahead as the Cork outfit continued to cause problems on offence. Titans found themselves still trailing going into the fourth quarter, but they did not give up. Barile continued his strong offensive display, while Andre Tongo, Joao Pedro, and Paulius Peldzius all scored crucial baskets.
A dunk from Taofik narrowed the gap further and Titans found themselves with the ball in the last 10 seconds with a chance to win. However they failed to convert, sending the game into overtime.
The momentum was with Titans at this stage, although defensively smaller, the Titans team held their own on the boards and started forcing a tiring Demons team to turn the ball. Some missed free throws allowed Demons to stay close, and even the loss of Barile with five fouls could not stop their momentum.
With a two-point lead and possession, Titans looked like they would close the game out, but a turnover gave Demons one last chance. O'Neill missed a three which would have given Demons the lead, and instead Toms Fabriciuss was able to score the last point of the game at the foul line.