Quinnipiac men’s basketball handles Siena in 76-69 win

The Bobcats shoot 61.4 percent from the field in the win and improve to 4-4 in the MAAC

By on January 21, 2018

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team picked up a much needed win on Sunday, topping Siena 76-69 in Hamden.

The Bobcats (7-13, 4-4 MAAC) shot 27-for-44 from the field, good for a 61.4 percent clip. The strong shooting performance led to five different players scoring in double figures, with senior forward Chaise Daniels leading the way with 17 points off the bench.

“I just wanted to win honestly,” Daniels said. “We took a tough loss at home against Niagara (on Thursday) and I just wanted to bounce back and get a win and get things moving in the right direction.”

The Bobcats played a complete game, holding Siena (6-15, 2-6 MAAC) to just 22-for-53 shooting and limiting leading scorer, freshman guard Roman Penn to just six points. Siena was led by sophomore guard Khalil Richard with 14 points, but it never led after the 16:05 mark in the first half.

“(The defensive end) is the end of the floor that we have to make strides with,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said. “Obviously in basketball, it’s not like football, both ends are connected. You have the same players playing offense and defense, so if you get stops, you’re going to have better offensive looks. I think a big part of us having our best offensive night was how well we played defensively.”

Dunleavy had high praise for Daniels, who he believes has made great strides on the defensive end this year.

“I think what [Daniels] was doing at a high level was communicating defensively,” Dunleavy said.  “He was sprinting in transition defense. We really challenged him, ‘just play as hard as as you’ve ever played and I guarantee you you’ll like what comes from it.’”

Quinnipiac also got a big performance from freshman forward Jacob Rigoni. Rigoni, making just his second career start, had 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and a career-high with eight rebounds.

“I feel comfortable playing out there,” Rigoni said. “It’s just an honor to put on this uniform and play with these guys. I think whoever is playing we’re all going to play for each other and we’re focused on what we can do and we have got to keep getting better as the days go forward.”

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
Freshman guard Rich Kelly added 16 points for the Bobcats, and graduate student guard Isaiah Washington had 11. Their performances were key since senior guard Cam Young picked up four fouls in the first half and was limited to just 21 minutes, well below his season average of 32.1 minutes per game.

Young, who averages a team-high 17.6 points per game, was held to just 10 today, snapping his streak of 10-straight games with 18 points or more.

“We were aggressive and playing off each other, and we got each other really good shots,” Dunleavy said. “Especially in a game where Cam Young, who’s been a big part of what we’ve done, had to miss as many minutes as he did, I was proud of the guys being able to step up on both ends of the floor.”

The lone downside for the Bobcats came in the first half, in which they turned the ball over 11 times. However, they corrected their ball security issues at halftime, coughing it up just three times after the break.

“We’ve just been inconsistent with (turning the ball over),” Dunleavy said. “I think Siena did a really good job of playing active defense. We talked about it at halftime, the guys made a great adjustment, but we just have to come into games going forward not letting that happen.”

Quinnipiac will look to stay in the win column as they travel to Poughkeepsie, New York to take on the Marist Red Foxes on Thursday.

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