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Irish select fall to China defeat
19 Jul 2015 17:05
China 82-46 Men’s Premier League Select
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A Far East adventure for Irish basketball came to an end this afternoon as China beat the Men’s Premier League Select 82-46 to claim the Sino-European Championships in Kunshan.
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The hosts powered home in the final quarter, but yesterday’s win over Russia means Colin O’Reilly’s side finish third in the annual tournament.
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“We’ll take a lot of positives from it,” said the head coach. “I think we left 15-20 points on the court today where we just didn’t finish properly. That’s what this whole trip has been about - getting used to this intensity and playing with it for forty minutes.”
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The starting five featured players from five different clubs. Templeogue’s Conor Grace broke the deadlock with a reaching left-handed layup after 90 seconds and the Irish were creating enough chances to stay in the game. Their professional opponents were more clinical and an 8-0 run contributed to a 15-5 for the first quarter.
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It was out to 36-15 for the half.
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China could only extend their lead by three points in the third, while the Irish were still adapting to less time on the ball and less space to work with in the final quarter.
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Conor Meany spun inside two players and pulled up at the elbow for two points. There was grit too - Conor Grace was first to dive on a loose ball. Grace matched up well with ex-NBA star Yi Lian Lian, but when the second player arrived knee-first, it was game over.
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Still, Kyle Hosford’s dunk just about came off and Keelan Cairns hit a quick release three-pointer off one leg to reduce the gap back to 20.
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However, China used both wingspan and finesse to sign off with a flourish to win by 36.
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