C & S Neptune 66 UCD Marian 81
C & S Neptune failed to fire as they went down to UCD Marian in a disappointing Men’s Super League clash at the Neptune Stadium on Saturday.
In another subdued performance, Neptune’s insistence on going with crazy shooting options outside the arc came back to haunt them when the game hung in the balance.
The mood in the winning camp was one of elation as captain Conor Meany praised his team's patience and resilience.
Meany said: “It was a strange game but I thought after losing a few close games in recent weeks we are learning and I thought our willingness to close out the game coming down the stretch got us over the line.”
UCD Marian stalwart Meany gave his side the perfect start when banking a shot after just 10 seconds before Miles Washington brought Neptune on parity.
Surprisingly the home side began with three guards with Gary Walsh, Roy Downey and Aleix Tarradellas getting the nod but with the team having little shape they trailed 11-2 in the fifth minute.
Credit to the home side they refused to panic and they responded with three unanswered baskets.
The standard of basketball improved from both sides and the introduction of the Hannigan twins James and Scott brought energy to the home side as the teams were on parity at the end of the quarter 17-17.
On the restart, a three-pointer from UCD’s American Jonathon Jean gave the students the perfect start but it was the shooting of Hungarian Srdan Stojanovic that was posing Neptune all sorts of problems with his slick moves.
Consecutive three-pointers from Tarradellas and Walsh edged Neptune ahead for the first time 27-24 before the UCD coach called a time out with 4.27 remaining to the interval.
Both teams played high-tempo basketball and a late Scott Hannigan basket ensured Neptune went in at the break commanding a 39-37 lead.
Jean showed his class on the restart with a deft move to the hoop before Nil Sabata responded with consecutive baskets at the post.
It was strange UCD didn’t focus on getting quality ball to their 6' 8" post player Marius Markovitch as they consistently opted to shoot outside the arc.
The game was still in the balance midway through the quarter but two three-pointers from Meany helped the visitors race into a 54-48 lead before Neptune called a time out with 1.54 remaining in this period.
Consecutive baskets increased the UCD lead to 10 points but Neptune rallied and Washington nailed two late jumpers that helped reduce the deficit to 58-52 entering the final quarter.
Coming down the stretch some of Neptune’s shooting bordered on the ridiculous as UCD’s ability to execute with the clock running down proved the difference in this scrappy game.
It certainly was a National Cup hangover for Neptune.