Tourney time

Ian McCracken

In the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason poll, the Quinnipiac men’s and women’s basketball teams were ranked No. 7 and No. 3.
Come March, however, both are preparing for the MAAC Championships.

The men have earned the No. 3 seed while the women hold the No. 4 seed for the upcoming tournament. The men’s basketball team plays the winner of No. 6 Marist vs. No. 11 Niagara, while the women go up against No. 5 Canisius.

The tournament will held at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. The women start March 7 and the men begin tournament play the next day. The championship games are set for March 10.

Against Marist, men’s basketball split the season series. The Bobcats dropped their last game of the season Sunday at Marist, 103-72. It was their second consecutive loss after winning the first seven games of February. The Bobcats took both regular season meetings vs. Niagara.

Umar Shannon was unavailable in either of the Bobcats’ losses. In the last game of February vs. Siena, Shannon went down with a knee injury in the second half, forcing him to undergo season-ending surgery. He averaged 14.3 points this season, third most on the team.

The frontcourt tandem of Ike Azotam and Ousmane Drame will need to step up in his absence. The two have led Quinnipiac to be the leading rebounding team in the conference, grabbing 46 boards each game while holding their opponents to 33.7 per game.

Canisius posed no problems to the women’s basketball team’s success, however. The Bobcats won both meetings against the Golden Griffins, holding them to 55 points or fewer while scoring 65 in both meetings. In the first meeting on Dec. 21, Jasmine Martin scored 22 points. Brittany McQuain lifted Quinnipiac in the second meeting with 18 points and seven rebounds.

McQuain was named to the All-MAAC Second Team, as she ranks third in the conference with 9.2 rebounds per game, second with 1.9 steals per game 10th with 12.9 points per game.

Quinnipiac’s inaugural season in the MAAC has proved to be a launching point for both teams. Both teams alternated wins and losses early in the season, but the men closed the last two months with a 13-5 record and the women finished 12-5 in the same span.

Both teams showed improvement on offense as the season drew to a close. The men’s basketball team averaged 82.4 points per game in its final nine games. The women averaged 78.4 points in the same span.

Defense, however, was not a strength for either team down the stretch. The women allowed 68.2 points per contest in the season’s final month, a half-point higher than its season average. The men allowed 79.3 points per game, three points higher than the season’s average.