UCD Marian vs Belfast Star 5th November 2011
UCD Marian 79-63 Belfast Star
UCD Marian bounced back from a disappointing home defeat to UL with a dynamic team performance leading the way to a comfortable victory over Belfast Star in the UCD Sports Centre.
In a cagey opening period, remedy Marian struggled to execute their offensive sets which resulted and missing contested jump shots while the Belfast side’s main offensive threat, American centre Tyson Johnson, utilised his quickness in the low post to give Star an early 13-10 lead. However that was as good as it was going to get for the visitors. UCD began to penetrate the Star defence in a decisive second quarter with Conor Meany and Daniel James finding their range from deep. Crucial however to the Belfield effort was the team defence. While the aforementioned Johnson treated himself to an impressive 22 first half points Star struggled otherwise to find an open look as the likes of Cathal Finn and Niall Meany provided great cover on the wings while Kevin Foley treated himself to double digits on the rebounding front.
UCD went on an 8-0 second quarter run and ended the first half with a 44-31 lead.
In hindsight the game as a contest was over at this point. Star battled mightily in the third quarter to find some sort of rhythm offensively but despite the best efforts of Ciaran McVeigh and Stephen Dawson UCD’ s defence stifled the back court of the visitors which led to turnovers and subsequent numerous fast break opportunities as the game wore on. The deficit was trimmed to 55-49 however thereafter an injection of energy off the bench from wingman Matt Kelly led to second chance opportunities for Belfield which they took full advantage of. The third quarter finished 59-49.
As the final quarter petered out the contrast in team defences became even further evident for the 200 odd supporters. Slack help defense from Star led to easy lay-up baskets for Dan James, Cathal Finn and Michael Higgins while at the other end Tyson Johnson was reduced to 4 points in the paint as his Belfast teammates struggled to break the Dublin side’s momentum. UCD kept turnovers to a minimum going on a 6-0 run midway through the quarter and the final score read 79-63. Tyson Johnson led all scorers in a losing effort with 31 points while Donnie Stith notched a tally of 27 for Marian in a more balanced team performance.
Speaking after the game, Daniel James pointed to the setback of losing to UL as motivation for this week’s victory: “We knew we owed the crowd one after letting the win slip against Limerick last week and I’m just happy we could do that in good style”. When asked about the difference between the two teams, he believed that what paved the way to the W was the “team defence and ball movement on offence” which he considered to be “as good as it’s been all year” as the deciding factor. UCD took their record for the season to 3-3 while Star remain footed at the bottom of the Northern Conference at 0-6. Next up for Marian is a trip to Galway next weekend to face Moycullen.