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Bobcats take down Monmouth, fall to SHU
For the second time this year, the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team was coming off a nail-biting win heading into a showdown with in-state rival Sacre Heart. And for the second time on this season, the Bobcats were turned away by the Pionners.
Sacred Heart used a strong second half to walk away with the 88-74 victory on Senior Day on Saturday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
Quinnipiac (14-13 overall, 10-6 NEC) held a 38-36 advantage heading into the half as they were receiving key contributions from a variety of players. DeMario Anderson had eight points, James Feldeine and Bryan Geffen each had seven, and Casey Cosgrove had six points. When Sacred Heart (16-11, 13-3 NEC) started to pull away in the first, Feldeine ignited the Bobcats’ spirits by scoring seven straight points which gave the Bobcats a 32-30 advantage.
In the second half, the Pioneers let Anderson score his points and focused on shutting down the other Bobcats. After playing with intensity in the first half, Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore was dissapointed with the way his team peformed in the second half.
“We were soft on both ends in the second half,” Moore said. “We ran out of will.”
After a pair of free throws by Evann Baker that put the Bobcats up 52-48, the Pioneers responded with a 14-2 run. During this run, Pioneers super sub Ryan Litke scored eight of his 17 points. Guard Drew Shubik, who was a rebound shy of a triple-double, made a nice under hand scoop lay-up as he was was fouled by Anderson. Brice Brooks capped off the run with a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and put the Pioneers up 62-54. Litke believed the Pioneers were a different team on the floor in the second half.
“I thought we had no energy in the first half,” Litke said.
Excited about his teams big win after the game, Sacred Heart head coach Dave Bike realized that his team had picked up a big road victory. Bike kept repeating the phrase, “it’s that time of year” referring to the fact that the conference tournament and March Madness are just around the corner.
After Brooks’ three, the experienced Pioneers, who lost to Central Connecticut State in last year’s NEC Championship game, pushed the pedal to the floor and left the Bobcats watching in the distance.
With the loss, the Bobcats can not finish any higher than fourth place, but currently control their own destiny. The fourth seed would be important because the Bobcats would be guarenteed at least one home game. Right now, it looks like the Bobcats would either face the defending champions CCSU or Mt. St. Mary’s.
A cause for concern for Tom Moore and his ball club is finding a second scorer to help supplement Anderson. This lack of a scorer was evident against the Pioneers on Saturday. Moore remarked that some this could be attributed to the better level of competition they are facing at the end of the season.
“Our guys are being closed out and rotated on by bigger, stronger defenders,” Moore said.
Moore also added, “We need to practice better and that falls on me.”
For the game, Geffen finished with 12 points and Feldeine finished with 10 points for the Bobcats. For the Pioneers, Chauncey Hardy finished with 17 points, Brooks had 13 points, and Gene Pettway had 12 points.
Before Saturday’s game the Bobcats honored there three senior players. DeMario Anderson was honored for his two years that he wore a Bobcat uniform. Before transferring to Quinnipiac, Anderson played at Central for two seasons. Seniors Andrew Cashin and Karl Anderson were honored for the four seasons they played for Quinnipiac.
On Thursday night, the Bobcats picked up an important league victory when Bryan Geffen knocked down a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to take down the Monmouth Hawks, 62-60. The Bobcats were in good shape as they held a 59-54 lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Monmouth (6-22, 3-13 NEC) put the Hawks up by a score of 60-59.
On the final play, Cosgrove found Ed Zajac at the top of the key. Zajac was looking to find Baker slashing to the basket, but was unable to get him the ball. Zajac finally found Geffen who launched his shot from way behind the arc and watched as it dropped into the net.
The Bobcats have two more games remaining on their schedule. On Thursday, they will make the short trip up to New Britain to take on in-state rival Central Connecticut State. The first time the two teams met this season, Central walked away with a decisive 85-71 win.
On Saturday, the Bobcats will travel to Staten Island to take on second-place Wagner in what will be an important game for both teams as they fight for seeding. After that game the Bobcats will know where their road to the NEC Championship game will begin.