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Strong second half boosts Bobcats
The Quinnipiac Bobcats overcame horrific shooting in the first half to defeat St.Francis (PA) 73-55 in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2,109 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center on Irish Night.
The Bobcats trailed the Red Flash by one point at halftime, a half in which they shot a miserable 34 percent from the field. The second half was a completely different story. The Bobcats appeared to be a different team as they would hit an astounding 70 percent and outscore St. Francis 48-29.
“It’s a little bit of a statement when you can win the second half 48-29,” head coach Tom Moore said. “We really talked about offense at halftime in great detail, and I was very happy with how the guys listened and then took the game plan and ran with it.”
Freshman Evann Baker scored 12 of his team high 17 points in the second half. Baker added three rebounds, two assists, and a game high four steals.
“In the first half, shots just weren’t going in,” Baker said. “We were playing aggressive on defense, but not as much offensively. I just saw the opportunities in the second half, and took them.”
Both teams came out sloppy from the start, as one play saw both sides turn the ball over a total of four times. The Bobcats trailed by seven after four minutes of play, as St. Francis held the lead until a three pointer by Bryan Geffen tied the game at 13 with 7:42 left in the first half. Geffen had 11 points, and shot three of five from the arc. A three pointer by Baker just before the half put the Bobcats down by one.
After a sloppy first half, the Bobcats dominated the second half. A lay up by freshman Justin Rutty capped a 16-1 run and put the Bobcats up 57-41 with seven minutes to play. Rutty had 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks on the night.
“We just had to play a lot harder and keep our heads in the game,” Rutty said. “The offense wasn’t really good in the first half but our defense was keeping us in the game.”
Louis Brookins added a game high 11 rebounds. Brookins played well and was a force in the paint in the absence of Senior Karl Anderson, who was out with the flu, according to Moore.
DeMario Anderson overcame a shaky first half, scoring 14 of his 16 points in the second. Anderson, who was named NEC player of the week the past two weeks, is currently second in the NEC with 21.1 PPG. He added six assists and three rebounds.
The crowd of 2,109 was the second highest home game total of the season. The enthusiasm and support of the student body on Irish Night may have even helped ignite the teams second half surge, according to Moore and Baker.
“I’m just thrilled that the students came out,” Moore said. “They don’t realize how much they help the team defensively.”
Baker agreed. “Having students there was huge. It was like having a sixth man.”
The bench applauded towards the end of the game as sophomore and crowd favorite Matt Suraci saw his first playing time of the season. Suraci joined the squad this year as a walk-on.
On Saturday, the Bobcats came back from an 18 point deficit to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson 78-74. Anderson led the team with 25 points and Geffen chipped in 13.
The Bobcats lead the NEC in scoring at 74.9 PPG and are tied with Robert Morris and Wagner for second place. The next home game is Feb. 7 against Central Connecticut State at 7 p.m.