UCD Marian’s good form continued on Saturday night in Belfield when they defeated Northside rivals DCU Saints by a score of 84-73. The win was Marian’s third in the last four games and keeps them in the hunt for a place in the playoffs. The team will be delighted with the win in what was one of the more complete team performances they have produced this year.

Marian came flying out of the blocks at the start of the game with Conor Meany and Terence King giving the home-side a 16-4 lead. DCU responded with some good outside shooting of their own from James Donnelly and Eoin Darling but it was Marian who continued to impress. Conor Meany, prostate who was the game’s top scorer with 24 points finished the first quarter with 12, including a pair of three pointers. At the end of the first Marian led by a score of 30-18.

The second quarter saw DCU get right back into the game, thanks in no small part to the play of their 6ft8 forward Martins Provizors, who scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half. DCU’s move to a full court press on defence worked in disrupting the offensive rhythm that Marian had built up in the first quarter. The second quarter also saw key players on both teams get into foul trouble, with Mike Trimmer of DCU picking up four fouls, one of which was a technical, and King of Marian receiving three fouls. Effective offensive rebounding from Marian and more good shooting from Meany meant that Marian went into half-time with a five point lead, 46-41.

The intensity of the game grew again in the third quarter as both sets of fans became increasingly vocal. The teams traded baskets before a slam dunk from King put UCD up by seven. However, DCU free throws quickly reduced the lead after a technical foul was called on Kevin Foley of Marian. DCU continued to play their way back into the game with Provizors, Darling and Peter Lynch all effective. Provizors then tied the game with a nice move. The scores weren’t level for long, though, as Alex Moorehead scored a lay-up and two free throws to give Marian a four point lead at the end of the third. Both teams played good defence in the third, with Marian using their speed to put more pressure on DCU.

One of the big reasons for Marian’s success in this game was their strong bench, and this was especially evident at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Some great defensive efforts by substitutes Neil Baynes, Matt Kelly and Moorehead led to fast-break scores for fellow substitute Barry Drumm. Tempers continued to flare throughout the fourth with James Donnelly of DCU picking up an intentional foul for hacking Drumm and words being exchanged between Lynch and Kelly. DCU  managed to reduce the lead to five points through free throws from Darling and Emmet Donnelly as Marian committed some needless turnovers. Crucially it never became a ‘one score’ game as Marian’s starters came in to finish the job. Free throws from Meany and Chubb, along with a crowd pleasing dunk from King, put the result beyond doubt as Marian clinched their sixth win of the season on a score-line of 84-73.

This was an excellent display from Marian, with every player contributing on offence and defence. Ultimately, it was Marian’s total team effort that was able to beat DCU, who seemed to depend too much on Provizors. Hopefully Marian will be able to continue their winning ways for the rest of the season.

David Drumm