After losing 77-70 to Mt. St. Mary’s last Saturday, the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team will return home for two key NEC contests. On Thursday night, the Bobcats will take on Monmouth and on Saturday they will host in-state rival Sacred Heart.
After racing to an 8-2 start in the NEC, the Bobcats have hit a rough patch and have lost three of their last four conference games. Quinnipiac (13-12, 9-5 NEC) currently sits in fourth place in the NEC, just a half game ahead of Mt. St. Mary’s.
The top three spots belong to Robert Morris, Wagner and Sacred Heart, who have distanced themselves from the Bobcats and the rest of the field.
With only four games left before the NEC tournament, the Bobcats will be looking to better their standing within the conference. The top eight teams advance to the tournament, with the top four seeds hosting a first round game.
On Thursday, the Monmouth Hawks will make their first trip to the TD Banknorth Sports Center. The Hawks are currently on a five-game losing streak and in 10th place in the NEC. They are a game and a half behind St. Francis (PA) for the final playoff spot.
Monmouth is led by sophomore guard Jhamar Youngblood and junior Whitney Coleman. Youngblood leads the Hawks with 12.8 points per game, while Coleman is just behind at 12 points per game.
The first time these two teams met this season, the Bobcats took home a 71-58 victory. DeMario Anderson led Quinnipiac with 24 points and Evann Baker added 21 points, his second biggest scoring output of the season. The Bobcat victory came during a season-long four-game winning streak.
On Saturday, the Sacred Heart Pioneers will make the short trip up from Fairfield to take on the Bobcats. Sacred Heart, one of the pre-season favorites to win the NEC, is led by Brice Brooks and Drew Shubik. Brooks averages 12.5 points per game while Shubik averages 10.9 points and 5.3 assists per game. The Pioneers will be looking to stay in the hunt for the top spot in the NEC.
When the two teams met a ealier this season, DeMario Anderson’s last second jumper wouldn’t fall as the Pioneers defeated the Bobcats 75-74. Anderson recorded a double-double as he finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Shubik led the Pioneers with 20 points.
Thursday’s matchup with Monmouth is set for 7 p.m. On Saturday, tip-off against Sacred Heart is scheduled at 4 p.m.