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Men’s basketball drops NEC opener, cruises past Cornell
The Bobcats tried to start their 2005-2006 Northeast Conference schedule on the right foot, but they fell just short against the defending champion. Fairleigh Dickinson edged the Bobcats 76-70 last Tuesday night in Teaneck, N.J., dropping Quinnipiac to 0-1 in NEC play and 2-2 overall.
Some new faces led the Bobcats, as junior transfer Chris Wehye led with a career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, and fellow transfer guard John Winchester added 14 points of his own. The Bobcats were without senior guard Craig Benson, who was sidelined with an injury.
While any loss is a bad one, and most coaches hate the term ‘moral victory,’ Quinnipiac head coach Joe DeSantis knows there are some positive things to build on from Tuesday’s loss.
“I think for us, to go down there and play against a top level team in the league, and compete the way we did that was a positive,” DeSantis said.
The Bobcats and Knights went back and forth to start the game, with FDU pulling away toward halftime, leading by seven at the break. The lead would reach 14 with 13:22 left to play. But the Bobcats would battle back, cutting the deficit to one with 52 seconds to play. A four-point play by FDU guard John Blackgrove 20 seconds later put the game out of reach for good.
Part of the reason for the Bobcats’ defeat could be found in the three-point shooting. As a team, Quinnipiac shot 4-18 from beyond the arc, including just 1-10 in the second half. DeSantis addressed the ineffective shooting during practice on Wednesday.
“We’re usually a better shooting team,” DeSantis said. “I think there are a couple of things involved: Number one, we’ve got to practice it more, and number two, we’ve got to find rhythm in getting shots off passes.”
The players agree that this game can be seen as a stepping stone toward bigger things. Victor Akinyanju, a junior and one of three transfers from Cecil Community College in Maryland, says that the team is coming together both on and off the court.
“We gel off the court, so that’s a big plus,” Akinyanju said. “I think that’s always a key to a team, if you get along off the court, coming together is just a matter of time right now. Everybody’s just got to get on the same page. We’re almost there.”
The Bobcats were able to bounce back from Tuesday night’s loss as they defeated the Cornell University Big Red 55-45 on Friday. Gonzalez led the way with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Wehye added 12 points of his own.
Down 30-26 at the half, Quinnipiac came out strong defensively, shutting down Cornell’s offense thanks in large part to the efforts of John Winchester on Cornell’s number one threat, Lenny Collins. The preseason Ivy League Player of the Year was held to just seven points, a far cry from the 27 points he scored against the Bobcats in last year’s contest. The non-conference win improved their record to 3-2.
The Bobcats returned home for a Monday night match-up with Colgate University at 7 p.m. Quinnipiac hosts NEC rival Robert Morris on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Quinnipiac at UConn:
Tickets are now on sale for the men’s basketball game vs. the University of Connecticut at the Hartford Civic Center on Fri., Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $30 for students and are available Wed., Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and between 6 – 8 p.m. at the women’s basketball game vs. Long Island University.