Cork's Jordan Blount hits 19 points but Ireland fall short in Switzerland

Roy Downey chipped in with three points on his debut in the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifier
Cork's Jordan Blount hits 19 points but Ireland fall short in Switzerland

Jordan Blount in action for Ireland against Switzerland.

Switzerland 83 Ireland 72

IRELAND battled back from a 14-point first-quarter deficit in Fribourg but couldn't catch the hosts in the FIBA EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifiers on Thursday. 

Twice Mark Keenan's side had the margin down to four points, at half-time, and in the last minute, but were held at bay despite their best efforts. They'll hope to bounce back on Sunday evening at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght for the clash with Cyprus, with Austria the fourth team in the group. 

Jordan Blount, who is a professional in Iceland, was one of the five Cork players to feature along with newcomers Cian Heaphy and Roy Downey, captain Kyle Hosford and Adrian O'Sullivan, while Tradehouse Central Ballincollig's Keelan Cairns also contributed with three points. Blount was a standout performer along with top-scorer Taiwo Badmus (20 points) and Sean Flood (18), hitting 19 points and snaring nine rebounds.

Blount was sent to the line when Ireland had the gap down to four in the closing stages but unfortunately missed both free throws while Badmus failed to control a Blount pass when a lay-up looked likely. From there Switzerland scored their free throws to eventually prevail by 11.

After their poor start, the second quarter belonged to Ireland, who outscored their opponents 23-13 with Downey knocking down a three, and at half-time it was 41-37.

The closing stages of the third quarter were hard-hitting, with every basket earned, though up 61-52, the hosts were in a strong position. 

Even down with 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, Ireland refused to yield and a sweet Seán Flood three-pointer from the corner with a one minute and four seconds to go made it 76-72.

Ireland head coach Mark Keenan told Basketball Ireland: “We’re very deflated at the moment, the scoreline doesn’t fully suggest how close, we get that to four points, then going to the free-throw line to try to cut it to two. 

"If we had gotten it to two, then it puts more pressure on their next offence. Look, the guys battle right to the end, they put their hearts out there. Slow start, got ourselves back in the game in the second quarter, and look we were right there at the death, it’s just disappointing that last minute and a half.”

Top scorers for Ireland: Taiwo Badmus 20, Jordan Blount 19, Sean Flood 18, John Carroll 7, Keelan Cairns, Roy Downey both 3. 

Switzerland: Marko Mladjan 24, Arnaud Cotture 21. 

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