Slow start dooms Quinnipiac men’s basketball in loss to Maine

Despite second half surge, Bobcats fall 78-72 to the Black Bears

By on November 26, 2017

Photo courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics
The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team’s return home didn’t go as planned, as it dropped its fifth straight game with a 78-72 loss to Maine on Sunday afternoon.

It was Maine’s first win of the 2017-18 campaign and the result dropped the Bobcats to 1-5 on the season.

It was a slow start, particularly on the defensive end, as the Bobcats allowed 46 points in the first half. Maine entered the game shooting just 24.6 percent from the 3-point line, but it knocked down seven of its first ten against a struggling Bobcats defense.

“Our defensive intensity from the first half to the second half was just not the same,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said.

Maine shot 14-for-23 from beyond the arc in the game, good for a 61-percent clip. The Bobcats on the other hand, shot just 35.5 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from three.

Quinnipiac trailed by as many as 26, but was able to get the game within four after a big second half run, which included multiple 3-pointers by junior guard Andrew Robinson, but it still wasn’t enough for them to come out with a win.

Robinson had 17 points off the bench, while senior forward Chaise Daniels led the Bobcats with a season-high 24 points and seven rebounds.

“He’s getting used to being a go-to guy, for the first time really,” Dunleavy said of Daniels.

Dunleavy added that he was impressed with Andrew and Aaron Robinson’s performances, which led to them being on the floor late in the game.

“I wanted to have the guys out there that were producing and making things happen,” Dunleavy said. “Especially from a defensive end, I think Aaron Robinson came up with some key steals, certainly [graduate student forward Alain Chigha] did that. I think a lot of our guys were making plays defensively that I wanted to keep out there.”

Quinnipiac forced 26 turnovers and turned them into 27 points on the other end. Most of the points off of turnovers came in the second half when Dunleavy had his team in a full court, 1-2-2 press. At one point in the second half, the Bobcats forced three consecutive turnovers with a lineup that consisted of Chigha, the Robinson twins, Daniels and graduate student guard Isaiah Washington.

Chigha was the leader on the defensive end, as he had seven steals to go with seven points and six rebounds. Despite the loss, he said he was proud of the fight his teammates showed down the stretch.

“We have no quitters in that locker room,” Chigha said. “Everyday we suit up we are going to war and every single one of them is ready to fight, there’s no quit in us.”

Photo courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics
The press helped get the Bobcats back in the game and it is something Dunleavy plans to consider going forward.

“When you have a eight-to-nine man rotation, sometimes it can be hard to press for a full game, but it is definitely a thought,” he said. “We have to think of things to get our guys to be more mentally aggressive to start games.”

Maine struggled against the press in the second half, but leading scorer Aaron Calixte hit 8-of-9 throws to seal the deal. Junior Vernon Lowndes Jr. added 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting, including five 3-pointers.

Despite the loss, Dunleavy was still impressed with how his team fought.

“(I’m) proud of our guys and the way they battled, but that story will get old if they don’t fix some things,” he said. “But I believe we have the guys in the locker room that will fix it and things will change, just a matter of how long it takes.”

Quinnipiac will play UMass Amherst at home on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. as it looks to get back in the win column.

Comments

About Peter Dewey