Outstanding performances from Mike Garrow and Elijah Mays sunk Moycullen Basketball in their fight against UCD Marian at the NUIG Kingfisher in the Men’s Super League on Saturday. After the 56-87 loss, the Galway side still faces the threat of relegation but the recent performances from their youngsters give some cause for optimism.
Especially in the first minutes and throughout the second half, Moycullen struggled on offence, with shot selection and long range efforts not being up to their usual standards.
At the end of the game Dylan Cunningham and Isaiah Harris-Winn were top scorers at 10 points each. Especially Cunningham took a while to heat up with the majority of his points coming in the third and fourth quarter, when Moycullen was far behind already.
The Moycullen big man struggled against the dominant forces of Baynes and Garrow in the paint and had to resort to some wild three point attempts in the second half.
American import Harris-Winn brought his team within single digits in the second quarter but was not overall consistent enough to keep the game close. At times, it seemed like he was too focused on rescuing the team on his own, instead of finding the open man on offence.
On the other side of the court, UCD Marian worked like a well-oiled machine for most of the night. Early on Forward Aidan Dunne controlled a lot of the action with his scoring as well as his playmaking ability from within the paint.
Afterwards Matt Kelly took over and seemed to score at will at times. His mixture of physical hustle that created second chance plays in the paint and great mid-range shooting proved tough to handle for the likes of Cunningham, Josh Marvesley and Tummon on defence.
The latter especially struggled after getting into foul trouble early on and having to watch his defensive plays for the rest of the night. To his credit, he seemed to find his rhythm in the later stages of the game and forced UCD to focus on their guards offensively.
This challenge was furiously answered by point guard Elijah Mays who showed off his blistering speed and skilful ball handling throughout the second half. A lot of their set plays looked like one-man fast breaks whenever number 12 turned on the jets.
His speed and athleticism also enhanced Moycullen’s foul trouble since the referees went with an especially strict interpretation of the rules, much to the disappointment of a passionate Galway crowd.
Overall the reasons for the loss went far beyond the referees’ calls on this night. Poor shot selection and wide open misses allowed UCD Marian to pull ahead early and their individual class allowed them to cruise towards a comfortable win.