Emporium Cork Basketball 88 UCC Demons 98
A MAGICAL 38 points from UCC Demons American M J Randolph paved the way for their shock win over Emporium Cork Basketball in a highly entertaining Men’s Super League game at Ballincollig Community School.
Make no mistake this was no fluke as Ballincollig never led Demons over the four quarters as they failed to match their intensity in key departments.
Plenty of heroes for Danny O’Mahony’s side as outside of Randolph’s contribution Kyle Hosford, Tala Fam, Carleton Cuff and the Hannigan twins Scott and James battled as if their lives depended on the result.
For the winning coach Danny O’Mahony it was the perfect Christmas present from his team.
"We needed to change up as Ballincollig stuffed us in the Mardyke and all the credit must go to my players who produced an awesome performance from start to finish. There is great camaraderie in the side and I am sure our loyal sponsor Bryan Mangan in New York will have enjoyed this performance as he watched the live stream.”
Tala Fam and Carleton Cuff gave Demons the perfect start with consecutive baskets before John Dawson responded with a three-pointer and the bonus.
The Ballincollig side went into the game minus their Bosman Spanish star Jimenez Gonzalez and they were sluggish in the opening minutes that saw Demons surge into an eight-point lead.
To be fair both sides were making basic errors but it was evident shots were not dropping for the home side as Demons punished them with a number of fast breaks.
Demons' new American signing Randolph has certainly given his team great energy and his two steals in this period were right from the top drawer.
In the closing minutes, Ballincollig had technical and unsportsmanlike fouls and they were lucky that Adrian O’Sullivan nailed a buzzer-beater that reduced the deficit to 26-19.
On the restart, a Kyle Hosford drive to the hoop yielded a basket and bonus before Adrian O’Sullivan nailed a monstrous shot outside the paint.
Indeed O’Sullivan was the one player keeping his side in the game as he registered his third three-pointer in the 14th minute that reduced the deficit to five points.
Ballincollig were struggling to contain the brilliant shooting skills of Randolph but in fairness, the agility of their Spanish ace Pau Cami Galera kept them within striking distance when their team struggled for baskets.
Demons to be fair were outstanding in the manner they shared the ball and with Ballincollig battling to stay in the game they had to show true resilience in the closing minutes of the half.
Luckily for the home side, they found a key basket in the closing seconds when American Dawson produced a quality move to the hoop and helped his team cut Demons lead to eight points at the break 52-44.
On the resumption, Dawson nailed another basket but Cuff quickly replied for Demons. Randolph's skills were shown three minutes later when he drove to the hoop and with two Ballincollig players in the air with him he managed to bank his shot and get a bonus when getting fouled.
To be fair Ballincollig would have been in serious trouble without the shooting skills of Adrian O’Sullivan but it was Dylan Corkery that produced a buzzer-beater that helped cut the Demons' lead to 73-65.
Consecutive three-pointers from Dawson had the home crowd in rapture but Demons responded with two Fam baskets and a three-pointer from James Hannigan.
That’s as good as it got for Ballincollig as they allowed indiscipline to take over in the closing minute when they were punished with three technical fouls.
The sound of the final buzzer was greeted with relief by the Demons faithful as their revival continued winning against a side that are difficult to defeat on their home court. The Randolph influence looks to have given Demons a new lease of life.
MJ Randolph 38, T Fam 22, K Hosford 15, C Cuff 11.
A O’Sullivan 26, J Dawson 24, P Cami Galera 19, C O’Sullivan 7.
C O’Sullivan, R O’Sullivan, A O’Sullivan, K Cairns, D Corkery, H Murphy, A O’Connor, J Dawson, S O’Flynn, P Cami Galera, C Blount, L O’Sullivan, P Lucey.
J Hannigan, S Carney, R Moore, K Hosford, S Hannigan, D Lehane, T Fam, V Bykov, C Cuff, C Looney, K Nwagboso, S Manojovic, K Moynihan, B Murphy.
M Nazuki (Mullingar), G Daly (Cork).