ANOTHER crucial win for UCC Demons in the Men’s Super League when they overcame Killester at Clontarf on Saturday.
Once again their American scoring athlete MJ Randolph produced another MVP display with a 40-point tally that broke the hearts of the Dubliners.
In a game where Demons were made to battle for long periods, Randolph refused to be fazed by Killester’s efforts to shut him down.
For coach Danny O’Mahony it was another crucial win for his side as he praised their ability to close out this game when Killester came back at them.
O’Mahony said: “We looked to have this game in the bag on a number of occasions but credit to Killester they refused to lie down but I am not surprised as this is the DNA firmly in the heart of this club.”
The opening quarter was a competitive period with Demons coming out of the blocks quicker than their Dublin opponents.
American M J Randolph looked energetic and when he nailed a basket coupled with a three-pointer in the third minute, Demons surged into a seven-point lead.
Credit to Killester they didn’t panic and with Paul Dick and Ciaran Roe showing their experience they reduced the deficit to the minimum in the fifth minute.
The shooting from both sides was impressive and with Dick continuing to show his class Killester stayed the pace with their Cork opponents.
Tala Thiam Fam was the go-to player for Demons and his late basket ensured his side led by the minimum 26-25.
Star American Randolph only had a five points contribution as Killester’s plan to lock him down was working a treat in the early exchanges.
However, Randolph began the second quarter well and in the opening two minutes added seven points as Demons moved into a six-point lead.
In a replica of the opening quarter, Killester bounced back with Spanish ace Tomas Fernandez Zola finding his shooting range as the sides were tied with four minutes remaining to the interval.
In the closing minutes before the break, Demons found key baskets from Fam and Randolph as the Leesiders regained control to lead 48-41 entering the second quarter.
A good start by Demons saw them race into a 14-point lead in the 25th minute but suddenly they went into a total meltdown.
Killester simply wouldn’t lie down and with Fernandez and Dick hurting them big time the Dublin side fought back to tie the game at 68 points each entering the crucial final quarter.
Coming down the stretch Demons moved up a gear as they blew their opponents away with some slick passing and shooting.
The Cork side suddenly had a 16-point lead and with captain Kyle Hosford sitting out the majority of the game with a slight knee injury, this was an impressive win.
P Dick 22, C Roe 19, T Fernandez-Zerolo 18.
M Randolph 40, T Fam 13, D Lehane 10, J Hannigan 9.
R Clarke, A Casey, P Dick, M Convery, J Behan, P Sullivan, G J Encarnacion, E Westbrooks, C Roe, C Baltimore, T Fernando-Zerolo, E Kiernan.
J Hannigan, S Carney, R Moore, K Hosford, S Hannigan, D Lehane, T Fam, V Bykov, C Cuff, C Looney, K Nwagboso, S Manojovic, B Murphy.