UCC Demons’ unbeaten record remains intact following a hard-earned win over fellow Cork side Fr Mathew’s in a highly charged Men’s Division 1 league clash at Fr Mathew’s Arena.
In a game that was in the balance into the final quarter Demons, inspired by Irish international Kyle Hosford and his 23 points, eventually saw off their brave opponents.
The home side got off to good start and with Mathew’s American Jonathon Garcia posing Demons problems at the post, the sides were level in the third minute at four points each.
Demons captain Kyle Hosford was urging his players for more focus and when American Andre Kennedy drained a floater in the fourth minute they edged into a 10-6 lead.
Kevin Moynihan started for Demons and the Cork U20 All-Ireland winner showed his determination with a wonderful drive to the hoop that was followed by a three-pointer.
The overall play from both sides was rather scrappy and a buzzer-beater slam dunk from Demons Spanish ace Tala Fam ensured the Sunday’s Well side led 25-19.
On the resumption, the game became sloppy with Demons coach Danny O’Mahony experimenting with various rotations but with four minutes remaining to the break they still commanded a 32-25 lead.
One must give credit to the home club on the work they did in the Arena and Fr Mathew’s committee should be commended on this facility.
Once again Demons American Andre Kennedy (11 points) worked hard but failed to really get going.
Credit to Mathew’s they battled hardest in the closing minutes of the quarter but Demons just about had their noses in front at the break when commanding a 38-36 lead.
On the restart, two Jack O’Mahony baskets ensured the sides were tied at 40 points each as Demons continued to play sloppy basketball.
The frustration of Demons players spilled out in the 25th minute when a technical foul was given against Kyle Hosford and with 4.21 remaining in the quarter they trailed 47-44.
Hosford to his credit responded with consecutive baskets and when he drained two free throws with two minutes remaining it brought the minimum between the sides.
The home side took a slender 54-53 lead into the final quarter and it was a battle royal as the home side still commanded a four-point lead 61-57 with five minutes remaining.
When the game hung in the balance Hosford and Fam showed their experience and skill as Demons held out to gain maximum points against their gritty opponents.
After the game Demons, head coach Danny O’Mahony paid tribute to his players but knows improvement will be needed for next week’s cup game against Ulster University.
“Happy with the win as this was the first real test we got this season but we have plenty of work to do for the cup game and we will put in a few heavy shifts on the training court before that.”