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Men’s basketball drops northern New York weekend
Moore disappointed in recent stretch, looks forward to February
The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team has struggled as of late in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play, losing its last two games to fall to 5-7 in the conference. The Bobcats recently traveled to northern New York on a weekend swing. first losing to Canisius 63-57, then falling to Niagara 105-100 in double-overtime.
Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore was disappointed in both losses, adding that the loss to Niagara was the most concerning.
“The most concerning thing about the Buffalo weekend was that we didn’t play good defense against Niagara throughout the game,” Moore said. “That is something that usually doesn’t happen for us. It concerns me as a head coach going forward.”
In the loss to Niagara, the Bobcats gave up a over 100 points for the first time all season.
One silver lining in the loss was the play of senior wing Evan Conti, who finished with 26 points for the game. Conti’s minutes have been inconsistent as of late, though he answered the call on Sunday.
“I had a short leash with him five or six games ago,” Moore said, “more so mentally rather than how his minutes turned out. I have a short leash right now with all of the perimeter guys other than Zaid and Ayron.”
Senior big man Ousmane Drame has seemingly returned back to form since Moore removed him from the starting lineup. During a stretch that ended Sunday, Drame recorded seven-straight double-doubles off the bench, bringing his total to 15 on the season – which is tied for first in the nation.
“The move to the bench was used to motivate him,” Moore said. “It was a psychological thing with him to maybe improve his consistency and his focus. I think he has handled it very well. His talent and impact he has had here at Quinnipiac is undisputable.”
“He is going to go down as one of the best big guys to ever play in the NEC and in the MAAC.”
Along with the play of his seniors, Moore is excited about what the future holds for freshmen Ayron Hutton and Chaise Daniels.
“We have a higher IQ on offense with Ayron on the floor. He can shoot the ball as well or if not better than any guy we have on the perimeter,” Moore said. “We needed it. We weren’t getting that from anyone this year.”
“Chaise can be terrific. He comes into practice and works hard every day,” Moore said. “He wants to play post defense, he wants to block shots, he wants to rebound and score at the rim. You give him more time in the weight room and the attitude he comes in with every day and he has limitless potential.”
And though the future looks bright, Moore is still looking toward the end of this season and a possible run at the conference title.
“We have done well in the month of February every year since I have been here,” Moore said. “Our talented teams and less talented teams have always had kids that carried us through the month of February. The seniors are driving the locker room, so its going to be on those guys.”
Photo via Chronicle File