MMU’s first taste of the big time.

MMU 1st 69 – 93 Teeside University 1st

In the opening game of the season MMU 1st’ found themselves in a new league facing fresh challenges after a strong showing last year had led them to promotion. After a sub-standard showing in the opening two quarters, the lads came back strongly however their determination was not to be rewarded as they came up slightly short in what ended up as a close fought encounter at the Sugdan Centre.

In the opening quarter Teeside were on top, giving the team a taste of what they can expect in the coming season. A raft of three pointers found there way home in the first two quarters, and the frustration was visibly building on the bench. The MMU coach was particularly animated, at one point kicking out at a nearby chair! MMU however made good use of their time-outs to disrupt Teeside’s rhythm and grew into the game as it progressed. MMU’s progress was halted however when Teeside’s number 13 rounded off probably their best passage of play in the second quarter, steaming in unchallenged to slam dunk the ball home. Two missed free throws at the end of the half summed up MMU’s early luck,  or lack of it, leaving Teeside ahead 47-29 at the interval.

After some choice words from the coach at half time, one of his attributes that captain Martino described as ‘Ace,’ after the game, MMU came out strong in the second half. They quickly went about reducing the deficit, showing great hustle and setting a high tempo. Two early free throws set the tone as Teeside became frustrated at the vast improvement shown from MMU. MMU continued to press going forward and were excellent in defense however a brief period of slackness ultimately cost them their chance to overturn the game. Captain Martino explained after the game how they worked so hard to come back but let all their good work slip in the space of a minute, stating that, ‘Clever and organised teams don’t give you a second chance’.

There were moments of flair from the MMU boys who showed glimpses of their true ability only sporadically. However their lapse in concentration resulted in the gap being a bridge too far. Although they battled hard rectify this, ultimately they came up just short and Teeside eventually prevailed 93-69. For MMU, they look ahead to their next challenge and hope that the better fitness levels called for by Martino after the game, coupled with an improved focus on, ‘Enjoying their basketball,’ will help them recapture last year’s glories.

Written by: Robbie Gill

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