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Quinnipiac men’s basketball falls to Drexel in final game of Holiday Showcase
The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team’s effort to win its third straight game came up short on Sunday with a 92-83 loss to Drexel (6-5) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The Bobcats (4-5) dropped the finale of the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase that featured West Virginia, Rhode Island, Tulsa, Dayton, Drexel and Quinnipiac.
In a game of runs, the Bobcats ended up on the wrong end of a 21-8 closing run that secured the victory for the Dragons.
“Credit to Drexel for a really well played game,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said. “I thought we played well early, got them down, but they just kept fighting.”
The Bobcats started hot, shooting 7-for-14 from 3-point range to open the game, but allowed the Dragons to cut a 41-28 lead to 45-41 by halftime.
Dunleavy questioned whether or not his team’s hot start affected their defensive effort in the first half that allowed Drexel back into the game.
“[Drexel’s] best players started playing better and we didn’t respond with the type of intensity we needed to,” Dunleavy said. “Maybe our shot-making caused us to be relaxed defensively because we played so well offensively.”
In addition to Harper and Demir, freshman guard Camren Wynter scored 18 points, 11 coming in the second half to help lift the Dragons, many of which came off isolation drives to the rim.
“[Drexel] has good one-on-one players,” Dunleavy said. “We could have done a better job helping each other in isolation situations.”
Quinnipiac struggled with foul trouble in this one as well.
Junior forward Kevin Marfo played just three first half minutes after picking up two quick fouls, but senior forward Abdulai Bundu stepped in with 11 first half points in his absence.
The Bobcats weren’t as fortunate with graduate student guard Cam Young, who picked up his fourth foul with 14:27 left in the game and later fouled out after playing just eight second half minutes.
Quinnipiac had six players in double-figures, with sophomore forward Jacob Rigoni leading the way with 15 points and four rebounds.
“It felt good,” Rigoni said. “I think [the performance] came from staying confident in my shot, that’s something I’m good at but I get my energy from how I play defense.”
The guard-duo of sophomore Rich Kelly and freshman Tyrese Williams combined for 24 points (12 each) and 10 assists in what was the Bobcats second-consecutive game scoring 80-plus points.
However, Dunleavy made it clear where his team needs to focus going forward.
“A little bit of a wake up for us in terms of our defensive effort,” Dunleavy said. “It has to be better, we’ve got to improve there. I thought we did enough offensively to win but obviously we have some strides to go to defend somebody like Drexel.”
The Bobcats will return home to take on Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the People’s United Center as they look to get back to .500 on the year.