RECAP: Ireland U20 Men 75 - 96 Armenia
July 23, 2017
FIBA Under 20 Men's European Championship Division B
Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
The U20 European Championships ended in disappointment for the Irish U20 Men as they sought out their third win of the championships. Armenia who were physically much bigger got into an early lead and although Ireland threatened at times, it wasn’t to be for Dave Baker’s men.
Starting in a zone defence, with a six foot ten big man Steven Enoch at the middle, Armenia were an imposing force. Ireland struggled to settle and it wasn’t until their second unit got into the game that they started to have success. Down eighteen after one quarter the Irish led by Aidan Dunne, Owen Connelly and Connor Ryan fought their way back into the game to reduce the lead to just five with three minutes to go in the first half. Armenia showed great composure to go on a big run of their own in the last minutes to stretch the lead back to seventeen at the half. Ireland were hampered by poor shooting from the outside which meant they had to go against the big man inside which was proving difficult. The bench were responsible for 28 of the 34 Irish points.
The third quarter was good offensively for Ireland scoring 22 points. Owen Connelly continued to shine as he hit two threes. Unfortunately stops were hard to come by for the Irish as Armenia continued to balance the inside presence of Enoch with prolific outside shooting. At the end of three quarters Armenia had taken their total of threes to 12 and the score was 75-56.
In the fourth Ireland continued to fight but they were struggling to make inroads against the Armenian zone. The bench continued to much of the heavy lifting with Owen Connelly having his best game of the tournament with 17 points. Ultimately though it wasn’t to be as Armenia closed the game out winning 96 to 75.
Coach Dave Baker shared his thoughts on the game: “Disappointed with another loss obviously but I’m proud of the guys. We got off to a slow start in the first quarter and they were very dominant inside. Steven Enoch was very difficult to manage, he had 30 points. I think ultimately we dug ourselves too big a hole and it was too much to try and claw back. I thought Connor Ryan was excellent in particular especially matching up against the Louisville big man. I’m proud of all of the guys throughout the tournament I think they gave us everything they could.”
Eoin Rockall “It was a disappointing way to end the championships, but I’m really proud of the boys. We fought hard throughout the championships and we’re going to go back home and keep pushing. Hopefully we’ll get to represent our country again in more European games in the future.”
IRELAND: Aidan Dunne (18), Conor Ryan (13), Daniel Heaney (6), Dylan Corkery, Eoin Rockall (4), Marcus Black Philips (8), Matt Treacy (2), Owen Connolly (17), Robert Sullivan (4), Ryan Leonard (2), Sean Gilmore (7), Tariq Guebaili (2)
YOUTUBE link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F36La5iVPmA
Ireland U20 Men's squad: http://www.basketballireland.ie/u20men/
Return to Main FIBA Game Zone: http://www.fiba.com/europe/u20b/2017/