It was another fine week for the men as they took both games they played beating Long Island University and St. Francis (N.Y.).
“We are playing a lot better now much like earlier in the season,” coach Joe DeSantis said. “Defensively we are doing a better job, especially creating turnovers.”
Last Tuesday the men traveled to Brooklyn, N.Y., in a game that was postponed a day due to the snow. The men got off to a big lead building a 12-point lead with a few minutes left in the opening half. LIU, though, went on a 10-4 run to end the half with the Bobcats ahead 36-30.
In the second half, the Bobcats and the Blackbirds battled until the 10:52 mark where the game was tied at 52. Then six straight points by freshman guard Craig Benson and Patrick Egan put Quinnipiac ahead to stay.
Scoring down the stretch was tough for both teams, though. With 4:58 left in the game sophomore center C.J. Vick connected on a hook shot, which was the last field goal either team would make.
Great defense and some clutch free throws sealed the deal as the Bobcats won 70-62. The men had six players in double figures led by junior captain Kason Mims who had 13 points, eight rebounds and three assist.
Sophomore guard Rob Monroe had 13 points, five assist and a career high six rebounds while playing all 40 minutes of the game.
“It was a big win that we needed to get back into it,” DeSantis said. “We went on the road verses a team that could score and we held them down.”
Next up for the men was their home finale versus St. Francis, N.Y., a team that had beat the Bobcats just three weeks earlier 91-76.
But energy was alive and well in Burt Kahn Court as it was Senior Day as well as the day the first number in Quinnipiac history was retired with the number 44 being honored for the men’s all time leading score Frank Vieira.
The Bobcats got off to a fast start as Mims hit two trays in the first minute of the contest. The men, though, played sloppy after that, turning it over seven times in the first 12 minutes of action as St. Francis built a 31-22 lead.
As has been the case all year, the men stormed back and tied the game at 31 with a 9-0 run, forcing three turnovers by the Terriers. The men took a four-point half time lead, 39-35, as senior tri captain Jeremy Bishop hit on an alley-oop lay up to end the half setting the crowd on fire.
That energy would never be lost, as Quinnipiac would never relinquish the lead building always holding at least a five-point cushion over the Terriers. Then the Bobcats defense really kicked in.
With six minutes left in the game St. Francis hit a free throw as Quinnipiac now lead 68-61. That was the last time the Terriers would score in the game as some relentless defense by the Bobcats kept them scoreless.
The Bobcats put the game away with a 12-0 lead. With under a minute left, the sellout crowd got a chance to honor the four senior Quinnipiac players as Bishop along with Kareem Lee, Vernon Thompson and Macklin Thornton all got into the game with a standing ovation.
“I am happy that I was able to play ball for four years at the Division 1 level,” Vernon Thompson said. “It was great.”
The men now stand at 14-10, 8-7 in the NEC, which puts them in fifth place. The men next travel to archrival Central Connecticut and then hit the bus to Maryland, where they will end their season on the road verses Mount St. Mary’s and UMBC.