In this week’s SBC Game of the Week, Stirling Knights played host to Glasgow University at the Peak in Stirling. Glasgow University came away with the hard-fought win on the road, defeating Knights 66-60.
To start off the game Glasgow University’s Euan Malcolm scored the first 5 points of the game, allowing the away team to jump out to a 5-1 lead. Knights quickly tied the game however, as after Ben Chok made two free throws, Matthew Dick found Lucas Hamill for the score inside. Point Guard, Unai Martin Abad went to work inside for the rest of the quarter, dishing off an assist to Colin McDonald and finishing inside on two consecutive lay-ups of his own, allowing the University side to push out to a 12-7 lead. Knights would then take the lead as two consecutive threes’ from Matthew Dick and Shaun Craig put them up 13-12. The University side would narrow the deficit before the end of the quarter, but Knights still held a 19-18 lead heading into the second quarter.
A strong showing in the second quarter by Knights saw them take an 8-point lead before the end of the half. After a scrappy start, Knights would play a lot better in the latter half of the quarter, scoring 10 unanswered points as they forced turnovers and got to the rim. After another three from Shaun Craig off a handoff from Daniel Chok put Knights up 34-24, Kieran Dowling would finish with a lay-up for the away team, scoring the last basket of the half and putting the score at 34-26 as both teams went to the locker room.
“We had a really good first half,” said Knights coach, Cory McCabe, “We were executing offensively and the guys did have the bit between the teeth. We had read a lot of what Glasgow Uni had been saying in the build up to it and we used that as fire.”
Coming out of the break, Glasgow University would make three baskets on back-to-back possessions to trim the lead to 3 at 36-33 as Michael Farage converted inside and Borislav Gachev and Steven Docherty each knocked down a three-pointer. Docherty would take over the game in the third quarter, scoring 13 points in the period as Knights had little answer for him on the defensive end. This clearly lifted the away team as they were able to take a 51-48 lead going into the final quarter.
“Unfortunately, in the second half, we went away from the game plan,” said Cory McCabe, “We had a couple of calls but that’s the same for both teams, and we just couldn’t get the offense going so credit to Glasgow Uni on the win. I don’t think we’re a million miles away; we’re capable of putting a half of basketball together, three quarters, but its whether we can put the four quarters together to get that complete performance.”
Glasgow University sustained the momentum from the previous quarter going into the fourth and widened the gap to a 10-point lead by the five-minute mark in the fourth. Knights continued to hustle towards the end of the game but it was too little too late for the home team, as Glasgow University took the win on the road, defeating Knights 66-60.
“A loss today for us would almost have certainly meant relegation,” said Glasgow University coach, Charlotte Dalton when asked about her team’s win, “So it was really just making sure the guys were focused on getting the win and ensuring Div 1 basketball for next season. I’m not quite sure how the table stacks out at the moment but we’ve controlled what we can control, we’ve done all that we can do. We just need to work on consistency and playing our team’s basketball.”
When it was all said and done, Steven Docherty came away as the leading scorer for the game with 15 points. Knights’ leading scorer was Shaun Craig with 14 points.
In Knights’ next game they will travel away to play Glasgow Storm on the 10th of February whilst Glasgow University will play host to Scottish cup winners, City of Edinburgh Kings on the same day.