Trinity Men’s Basketball suffered a hard-fought 72-87 defeat to Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) last night in the Trinity Sports Centre, with the match being marred by verbal disputes both before and after the game.
Trinity began the match in a good manner, playing some attractive, free-flowing basketball that seemed to surprise DKIT, who were the favourites on paper for this intervarsity tie. This fine form was rewarded by consisting point-scoring, and the men in red found themselves taking a deserved 18-16 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter.
Trinity carried this form into the second quarter, scoring eight unanswered points within the opening three minutes. This seemed to wake DKIT up, the side from Dundalk themselves immediately scoring three baskets without reply, but at this stage Trinity were comfortably the better side and only a series of missed free-throws meant that the score was as close as 41-38 at the end of a high-scoring quarter.
However, whatever words were uttered by the Dundalk head coach at half-time instigated a momentum shift, and DKIT, experiencing no such difficulties with their free-throws, scored two at the start of the third quarter to finally take the lead. The game then threatened to become bad-tempered, with both sides clearly feeling aggrieved by refereeing decisions going against them, as evidenced by the incessant protests from both benches which could be heard clearly above the noise of the game.
DKIT began to rack-up an increasing number of fouls, seemingly in protest at the refereeing; however this aggressive approach also brought the benefit of rattling a previously steadfast Trinity team, who quickly fell nine points behind. The game then finally and inevitably boiled over, with DKIT having a player disqualified and multiple players on both sides being handed official warnings. At this point, the referees were left with no option but to call for a time-out to speak to both coaches about the conduct of both sides. Trinity rallied late in the quarter with a couple of late baskets, and the score going into the final ten minutes was a seemingly surmountable 56-63 to Dundalk.
However, the final quarter never brought the change in tide that Trinity needed, with a flurry of scores extending DKIT’s lead to a daunting 16 points halfway through the quarter and, although the deficit looked like coming down at times, it finished at 15 points. The 72-87 defeat was clearly hard to swallow for a Trinity team for whom this will feel like an opportunity missed against a talented but vulnerable DKIT. This was clearly a sentiment reflected by Trinity captain Manus Darby after the game, as he stated that, “It’s always tougher to lose the college games, as that’s the league we want to compete in, with the Superleague and national players.” However, he chose to put a positive spin on the game as a whole, saying that it was nice to see the team being competitive at this level.
Trinity Men’s next game is a Dublin league match away to Coolmine Cavs on Monday night.