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Quinnipiac staves off Central, toughs out 73-68 win [Video]
Déjà vu it was not for the men’s basketball team.
After blowing a 23-point lead against Bryant on Thursday, Quinnipiac let a 15-point lead against Central Connecticut State dwindle down to two with one minute remaining. But defensive stands and made free throws kept the Bobcats on the winning end of a 73-68 affair at the TD Bank Sports Center.
“I didn’t feel like we were engaged Thursday night,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. “We were young, and our attitude was ‘I can’t believe we gave up a 20-point lead.’ Tonight we were engaged and alive in the fight.”
Quinnipiac (12-4, 4-2 NEC) had seven steals in the high-tempo affair. The Bobcats were outrebounded 39-37 without former NEC Player of the Year Justin Rutty, who missed his fourth consecutive game after elbow surgery.
“We’ve gone from being an inside-oriented team to a perimeter-oriented team,” Moore said. “We really needed James Johnson and Deontay (Twyman) to make jump shots or make driving plays to create opportunities for those big guys to finish.”
Twyman led the way with a career-high 23 points for the Bobcats. Tevin Baskin added 13 points and nine rebounds in his first game with extended minutes.
“We took that loss against Bryant hard,” Twyman said. “Tonight was a personal thing. And it helped with Central being our rivals, so we’re always ready for that game.”
Quinnipiac led by 13 at halftime, steered by 5-7 shooting from beyond the arc and 18 first-half points from Twyman. But the Blue Devils (10-7, 3-3 NEC) gradually chipped away. Chris Baskerville pulled down 12 rebounds (seven offensive) and shot 7-8 from the field to pull CCSU within two with a minute remaining.
Baskerville scored a team-high 16 for the Blue Devils, and the NEC’s third-leading scorer Ken Horton scored 15 of his own. Shemik Thompson had seven assists to go along with 12 points.
Free throws in the final minute from Johnson and Twyman put Quinnipiac back up by two possessions, and a Johnson rebound off of his own missed free throw sealed the deal with 11 seconds in the game.