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Bobcats fall to Central
Every team seems to face that hurdle it just can’t overcome.
For the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team, such an obstacle comes in the form of the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils.
Quinnipiac fell to last year’s Northeastern Conference champs by a score of 85-71, at the TD Banknorth Sports Center last Thursday night. The Blue Devils (11-12, 7-5 NEC) have now won eight straight, and 25 of 27 against the Bobcats (12-10, 8-3 NEC).
“They’ve beaten us pretty good over the years,” Quinnipiac sophomore guard Casey Cosgrove said. Cosgrove scored 10 points, and grabbed six rebounds. “They wanted it more, and obviously the final score showed, and the whole game showed”.
The defeat clearly disheartened Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore. “We got handled every which way. It starts with the head coach,” Moore said.
Moore emphasized Central Connecticut senior guard Tristan Blackwood’s role in the Blue Devil Victory. “Tristan was very strong tonight, incredible strength”.
Blackwood matched up defensively against Bobcat team captain, senior DeMario Anderson, holding him to 13 points, and just three of 16 shooting. Anderson played for Central Connecticut in his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Quinnipiac.
In neutralizing the Bobcats primary weapon, Blackwood contributed substantially to the Blue Devil victory. He also added 18 points.
Blackwood was quick to complement his teammates, particularly the forwards playing down low in the paint. “They are able to put the ball in the hoop, and good things happen,” he said.
He also acknowledged his important role as a team player. “I tried to become a leader. I’ve been around for four years.”
Despite a pair of quick threes early, Quinnipiac never looked comfortable. They trailed for much of the first half, but were able to battle back by halftime. The score was tied 30-30 at half.
Blackwood opened the second half with a two-point field goal, and the Blue Devils never looked back. The final 20 minutes belonged to them.
With 9:40 left, Blackwood hit a three, extending the lead to 63-46. By then, it was all over. CCSU opened the lead up to 20 at 7:35, and the Bobcats never really threatened after halftime.
Central Connecticut Head Coach Howie Dickenman attributed his team’s victory to stronger defense in the second half. “Everyone in one way, chipped in to help us with our victory,” he said.
Quinnipiac shot just 37.1 percent from the field for the game. Freshman guard Evann Baker led the way for the Bobcats with 14 points.
Central Connecticut shot poorly in the first half, but got hot in the last 20 minutes. With Blackwood leading the way, they shot 55.2 percent after halftime.
Quinnipiac held the advantage in rebounds 48-42, as well as a slight edge in points in the paint 30-28. Despite this, the Bobcats never seemed to hold any kind of physical advantage.
There’s plenty of basketball left to play for both teams. “It’s a tough loss, but it’s a long season,” Anderson said. Quinnipiac gets another shot at Central Connecticut, this time on the road, on Feb. 28.
There’s always a chance of a third showdown in the NEC tournament.
Round one though clearly went to a Blue Devils team looking to defend their NEC title.
“Anytime you win a road game in this league, that says something pretty good about your team,” Dickenman said.