Two weekend victories by UL Eagles saw the defending champions soar to the top of the Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague table. The weekend action also saw wins for Moycullen, Bord Gais Neptune and UCD Marian.
In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, DCU Mercy lost their undefeated record when Singleton SuperValu Brunell secured a historic victory at home, while Team Montenotte Hotel Cork, WIT Wildcats and UL Basketball Club all enjoyed convincing wins.
UCC Demons entered the weekend undefeated and atop the Nivea For Men’s SuperLeague but were knocked off that perch Saturday night when UL Eagles proved too much for the Cork city club in Limerick.
Speaking after his side’s 83-72 victory, Eagles coach Mark Keenan pointed to his team’s experience as a major contributing factor to the outcome.
“I have to give our guys a lot of credit," Keenan said.
"We shared the ball great all night and kept our composure when it mattered. A lot of guys came up with big plays throughout.
“We were in control for most of the game. They came out very strong at the start of the second half and made a few threes but we never lost our discipline and we also did a great job on their American defensively which kept their scoring low.”
The win for Eagles was all the more impressive considering less than 24 hours later they had a tough encounter against Dublin Inter in Tallaght, where most of their key players were forced to play significant minutes.
“The Inter game really was a tough game. We had to make sure we didn’t get ahead of ourselves and have one eye on the Demons match the next night," Keenan added.
"It was level at the half but we got a really nice push in the third quarter, which was the winning of the game.”
The nearest challengers to Demons and Eagles are Bord Gais Neptune who edged closer to breaking into that top two with a win at home against DCU Saints.
Struggling with several injuries, Neptune’s coach Mark Scannell was pleased with the contributions he received from a number of younger plays who are breaking into the squad this season.
“Mattie (Mateusz Rudak) came in and gave us some great energy on defence and fellas like Stephen O’Sullivan and Dylan Lenihan did well," said Scannell.
“We played well but didn’t start great and the bit of fresh legs and a change-up worked really well for us.”
Scannell can also be pleased with the performance of a couple of his more veteran Irish guards, Gary Walsh and Ian McLoughlin, who combined for 33 points in the game, while American centre Darren Townes contributed 20 despite struggling with injury all game.
In Galway, Moycullen completed a fantastic month of November for their young side, winning their third game in four when they easily saw off the challenge of Killester 79-58.
“Things are beginning to click for us a little bit,” said Moycullen American centre Pat Sullivan, who leads the league in scoring on 25 points per game.
“Killester are a great club so any day you beat them by 20 points is one to savour.
"We attacked well early on and forced them to switch to a zone defence which left our shooters a lot of space and we were able to capitalise on that.”
Despite the loss, Killester managed to regroup in time to defeat UCD Marian in Dublin on Sunday, a win that coach Darren O’Neill was delighted to salvage from the weekend.
“Everyone played really well today," O'Neill admitted.
"Puff Summers probably had his best game of the season but it would be hard to single any one person out, the team as a whole played great. We were a lot better defensively today than we had been which was the big difference from recent games.”
In the Nivea Women’s SuperLeague, Singleton SuperValu Brunell shocked many pundits with a stunning 71-67 win at home against the previously undefeated DCU Mercy.
Brunell have been an improving side all season and showed signs of what they could do when they ran current champions UL close last weekend, losing on that occasion by just seven points.
This weekend, they went a step further however and coach Kieran O’Leary was delighted with the result.
“It was a fantastic game of basketball, a really intense game from both teams," enthused O'Leary.
"We got off to a great start, they came back at us and even took in a half-time lead but we dug deep when we needed.
“I was quietly confident during the week that we could do it. If you had asked me at the start of the year could we beat DCU I probably would have said no, but we’ve been getting better and better every game.”
Elsewhere, WIT Wildcats fans were treated to a victory on the night that former Baylor University star Terran Condrey debuted for the Waterford club as they defeated Killester 67-38.
UL Basketball Club proved too strong for Liffey Celtics and now stand as the only undefeated team left in either the men's or women’s SuperLeagues. Team Montenotte Hotel Cork remain just one game back of the league leaders UL after they beat Metoers by 11 points on Saturday night.