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Men’s basketball tops Siena in last home game
Four seniors score in double figures
On the heels of a back-breaking loss at home against Canisius, Quinnipiac seniors Justin Harris, Evan Conti, Ousmane Drame and Zaid Hearst wanted to make their last home game a special one.
Behind double-figure point totals for all four , the Quinnipiac men’s basketball (15-13, 9-10 MAAC) bested Siena (10-18, 7-12 MAAC) 73-63 on senior night, snapping its three-game losing streak Friday night at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden.
“We all remember being freshman, walking our first footsteps on campus. Being the final time to play at this arena, it hit us,” Hearst said.
The Bobcats outrebounded Siena 56-46, including 22 offensive rebounds, and held the second-ranked offense in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to 33.3 percent from the floor.
Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said the Bobcats’ defense was the difference maker.
“For the balance of the game, we played borderline terrific defense,” Moore said. “I thought we did a good job on Wright. He’s a terrific player. We won it with defense and offensive rebounding, and we made enough shots,” he said.
The Bobcats turned a 7-7 ballgame into a 37-20 lead heading into the half, posting 18-0 and 11-3 runs over the Saints.
The halftime lead was not sparred by tremendous shooting. Quinnipiac was held to 25.8 percent (8-31) from the floor. Instead, Quinnipiac separated from Siena with a solid shooting display from the charity stripe. Harris, who finished with 15 points, sunk all 8 of his free throws in the first half. Hearst knocked down five of six attempts.
Quinnipiac also made 27 of 31 free throw attempts, and attacking the basket was a point of emphasis in the victory.
“It was comforting having them in the bonus with 13 minutes left in the first half,” Moore said. “I thought Drame and Harris did an excellent job. They were trying to go through [Siena] to put pressure on the officials,” Moore said.
Siena made a push in the second half, but Conti countered with 11 of his 18 points to prevent the comeback.
In the win, Chaise Daniels was removed from the game after falling awkwardly on a missed dunk attempt. Moore said the injury was “not too bad.”
With the victory, Quinnipiac can not face Iona until the championship game of the conference tournament. However, Hearst does not care who his opponents will be.
“We’ve been in tough games with everyone. Whoever we are set up against, we’ll be ready,” Hearst said.
Quinnipiac plays its final regular season game at Manhattan (15-13, 12-7 MAAC) on Sunday. Then, Hearst hopes to change Quinnipiac’s reputation in the conference tournament.
“Team wise, we’re coming,” Hearst said. “Next week we’re going to shock some people. There are a lot of people doubting us. But, we’re ready.”Follow @MHewitt_BBE