Basketball falls in finale; fail to make NEC Tourney

By on March 9, 2005

The men’s basketball team ended its season on Monday night, Feb. 28, at Central Conn. St. with a 95-85 loss to the Blue Devils.

The game was a play-off game of sorts for both clubs, as the winner would be seeded No. 8 in the up coming NEC Tournament and face defending conference champion Monmouth.

For Quinnipiac, this is the second straight year that they have failed to make it to the NEC Tournament, making it the first time this has happened since the team joined the conference in 1998.

Despite the efforts of senior standout of Rob Monroe, who finished the season ranked in the top 50 in the country and four offensive categories, points per game (22.7), assists per game (6.6), free-throw perc. (.859) and three-pointers per game (2.6), the ‘Cats could only muster a 6-12 record in conference, finishing 10-17 overall.

The Bobcats were devastated by two losing streaks in their conference schedule of five (Jan.20-31) and four (Feb.19-28) games respectfully.

One of the main causes for the team’s record is their defensive play. The Bobcats’ defense gave up 70+ points 21 times in 2004-05, compiling a record of 8-13 in those contests and gave up 100+ points twice, to Northern Arizona (Dec. 21), a 102-83 loss and then nine days later to UConn at the Hartford Civic Center, a 123-71 defeat.

The non-conference schedule was average at best, supplying the Bobcats with four wins in nine total contests, picking up three victories against Division-II foes Longwood University and Concordia College and got their only Division-I non-conference win against Cornell, a 86-73 victory.

The 2004-05 season saw the Bobcats post their second consecutive losing season, and third in their last four years in the Monroe and C.J. Vick era.

During the duo’s freshman season, the Bobcats finished 14-16 (10-10) and rode the proverbial pumpkin all the way to the NEC Championship game, defeating Wagner and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. The which aired on ESPN2, was against the No. 1 seeded Central Conn. St. The game was their ‘midnight’ so to speak, as the Blue Devils won 78-71, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament where they eventually lost to the Big East’s University of Pittsburgh, 71-54.

The Bobcats never saw the NEC title game again, only qualifying for the tournament one more time, losing to Wagner 71-64 in the 2002-03 semi-finals.

But the 2004-05 season was not about the NEC play-offs, it was about the regular season, and basically getting ready for 2005-06, and the eventual opening of the Hudson United Bank Center.

Vick, who led the state of Virginia in blocked shots as a senior at Robert E. Lee High School, came to Quinnipiac with hopes of being a go-to-guy in the paint. However, the offense revolved around the perimeter game, not allowing Vick to fully utilize his abilities. This season saw junior Craig Benson step into a leadership roll, becoming the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 12.2 ppg. He shot .327 from three-point range.

It season saw a host of players, both forwards and guards, stepping their game up along side Benson.

Transfer Kevin Jolley, led the team in rebounding, 7.6 rpg, and was second in the NEC behind Wagner’s super glass clean Sean Munson, 9.55 rpg.

Red-shirt freshman Karl Anderson, was selected to the All-NEC Freshmen Team after a season which saw him average 9.2 ppg and 5.1 rpg. He played in 17 games, starting two, while still nursing a leg injury.

The Bobcats have lost has lost seven players in the last four years that have been significant contributors to the team. And each year, the team seems to lose a little bit of its luster.

Bill Romano, Jared Grasso and Jeremy Bishop in 2001-02, Kason Mims and Rashaun Banjo in 2003-04 and Monroe and Vick this season.


About Matt Lefebvre