St Mirren West College Scotland 91 vs 71 CoE Kings
St Mirren West College Scotland Senior Men’s close win over fellow contenders Fury on the Friday, created belief and momentum for the Sunday show down at Paisley’s Lagoon Sports Centre for the visit of the Edinburgh Kings, the only team to beat Saints in the league this season. That 10 point defeat back in September had to be more than matched to keep the Paisley side in the Hunt for their first National League title in many years.
No maths in this one a loss would make it very difficult to win the league as Saints would be relying on another team beating Edinburgh. Edinburgh’s emphatic 21 point win against Boroughmuir on Friday set them up for the ‘Big Sunday’ in Paisley.
The first quarter was a cagey affair as the first score was a 3 pointer from Cleary followed by two Edinburgh scores then another 3 from Cleary matched by the visitors on the inside. In the final minutes of the period Edinburgh opened up a 5 point lead swiftly closed by Collins and Dave Johnston to be 17-16 behind at the end.
Saints took advantage of the break to reinforce a couple of things and sure enough the visitors were soon trying to hang on as the home town team found the right gear, gave up on the 3 pointers, and started to run the floor, Collins, Railley, Fergus Harte and Scott Armstrong all working hard to get on the end of good opportunities as the quarter went to Saints at 20-13. Saints did get to 10 points in front but got pegged back as half time arrived to lead at 36-30.
The third period as happened on Friday night was all about the Saints machine as they piled in the points from running and scoring, 31 points in all -too much for Edinburgh to handle as their 16 point response put Saints in control at 67-46 going in to the final period.
Experience and a good team performance let Saints control the final period just maintaining their advantage until the final whistle. Seven different Saints scorers from a nine man team in the final period confirmed an excellent team effort for another 24 points to take the victory at 91-71.
Nick Collins on 25, Chris Cleary on 20 with no less than five 3 pointers and Chris Barron with 18 were Saints top scorers on the day.
There are four games left in the league over the next month against Storm, Boroughmuir, Pleasance and Glasgow University, with 3 of them at home, important thing for Saints is that they are not relying on results elsewhere to capture the top prize in Scottish Basketball.