With both teams coming off back to back wins this game was billed to be a closely contested affair. The Dublin rivals have always been apart of fierce rivalry games and this did not disappoint.
UCD started the match as they have every game so far, with intense defense that forced an experienced starting Saints lineup into poor offenses and turnovers. Marian took advantage of this with a pair of baskets from John Galvin and a pair of corner jumpers from Matt Kelly. As Saints settled into the first quarter it was man-mountain Martins Provizors that ignited the mini comeback towards the end of the first. Keith Anderson’s fancy fastbreak dish for an easy layup and the foul for Martins meant the first quarter finished tied at 13.
Second quarter started as it finished with Provizors grabbing 2 early offensive boards to give DCU the early edge. As soon as it appeared DCU had a foothold two 3’s from Cathal Finn quickly put Marian back in front. Saints offense could not get going and only a bail out jumper from Michael Chubb could end their scoring drought. The referees choked the life out of the whole game and Saints frustration boiled over with a technical foul on Saints coach David Donnelly. Marian missed 3 out of the 4 free throws, setting the tone for their own downfall later in the game. DCU trailed at the half by 10.
Matt Kelly opened the 3rd with 2 quick baskets including an and one, he had taken Pat Glover out of the game with stifling defense throughout. Though UCD’s defense was still strong fouls stopped the game too often to build up any rhythm on either side. Once the play opened up a little it was Saints that took the initiative. Martins’ layup and a Keith Anderson 3 cut the lead to 6. UCD pushed the lead back to 9 by the end of the 3rd.
The 4th started as the rest of the game had done, fouls and turnovers for both sides. A clear path foul by Conor Meany and no good offences for the first 5 minutes of the final quarter gave DCU the lifeline needed. The lead was down to 3 and Marian were in team fouls with 5 minutes to go. The go to offense of John Galvin was completely nullified by DCU’s Eoin Quill who shut down the american big man through hustle and beating the big man to the spot every time. Saints took the lead after UCD coach Sasa got a technical foul after a foul was called that he cared very little for. Saints made all 4 of the free throws. Breakaway layups and free throws closed the game out for Saints and eventually ran out 62-53 winners.
With Marian in control for the entire game it was early fouls in the 4th and indiscipline that cost them the game. That said Saints still had to win the game and that they did by hitting their free throws and converting on turnovers. Eoin Quill’s defense on John Galvin was the big turning point allowing Marian nothing simple through the entire 4th quarter.