When we last saw the men’s basketball team, they were on top of the world. A 3-1 start and champions of the Hofstra Holiday Tournament, it looked like a season of great promise for the Bobcats.
Then the winter break kicked in.
At first the men could do no wrong. They were winning and doing it without the services of sophomore point guard Rob Monroe who sprained his ankle in practice a week before the Drexel game.
On Dec15, they defeated Drexel, a member of the Colonial Athletic Conference, 81-78 in front of television cameras as WCTX televised the game.
The Bobcats got down early by as many as 12, but made a comeback that was lead by senior tri-captain Jeremy Bishop, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bobcats didn’t stop there, as they won their next two in a row beating Dartmouth 81-72 and then topping Albany 78-65. This put them at 6-1, which was their best start since moving up to the Division I level.
“We had everything going, we were playing great together as a team,” coach Joe DeSantis said. “We were winning games without Rob [Monroe].”
On Dec 30, the Bobcats traveled to Philadelphia to take on La Salle University, an Atlantic 10 opponent. The men played well against the Explorers and held their own most of the way before finally falling 82-71, in a game that was much closer than the score indicated.
“We played a hard fought game against a bigger school,” Desantis said. “We had a chance to get a win but overall we played them really tough.”
Then came the showdown versus Central Connecticut State.
The game was televised at 10:30 at night and was supposed to be the game that Quinnipiac fans and alumni were waiting for. A chance to beat Central, which Quinnipiac has not done since 1982.
The Bobcats built up a six point halftime lead and led by as many as eight in the second half before a scoring drought combined with a Blue Devil run ended the hopes of a win as Central beat the Bobcats 76-72.
The men had four days to regroup for another out of conference match up versus a perennial NCAA tournament team, Holy Cross. In an interesting side note, the Crusaders brought with them 7’6 center Niel Fingleton who is easily the tallest man ever to play in Burt Kahn Court.
As for the game, it was a hard fought contest but the Bobcats, who missed 11 free throws in the game, lost 83-75.
With the losing streak at three, the men played host to Sacred Heart University. The Bobcats did not seem to come into this game with much energy. This, combined with some questionable officiating, helped Sacred Heart build a 14-point lead.
After coach Joe DeSantis was ejected from the game following two technical fouls, the men seem energized and cut the lead all the way to one before falling 88-85.
Things did not get better for the Bobcats as they headed to Staten Island to play Wagner, who was looking for revenge following their loss to Quinnipiac last season in the NEC tournament. Revenge is what they got.
Wagner jumped out quickly and continued to pour it on as they wound up beating the Bobcats 91-69. The Seahawks outrebounded the Bobcats 49 to 33 and shot 50 percent for the game.
The men regrouped from their five game losing streak to rock Robert Morris University 90-76 on MSG TV. Rashaun Banjo lead the team and tied his career best with 28 points and 12 rebounds while Bishop added 22 and 12 rebounds.
St. Francis (Pa.) came to town next, with their freshman sensation Darshan Lucky. It was a balanced team effort that saw Bishop score 16, Monroe 15 and Kason Mims 14 with seven assists, as well as holding Lucky to just 21 points on 8 of 21 shooting, including 0-5 from three point territory.
Quinnipiac hopes to continue their winning ways as they head into a New Jersey trip to face Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The Bobcats record stands at 8-6, 2-3 in the NEC.