After shooting 32.7 percent from the floor and falling to Hartford at home 54-50 on Tuesday night, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team desperately needed a hot start Sunday against Vermont.
Quinnipiac shot 54.9 percent from the field, out-rebounded the Catamounts 40-16, and the Bobcats defeated UVM 89-73 on Sunday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center, earning their third win of the season.
“I’m pleased with the way we bounced back from our performance on Tuesday night,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. “I’m happy with the way we played today. [The win] gives us some positive momentum moving forward.”
Senior big man Ousmane Drame recorded a career-high 33 points and 13 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the 2014-15 season. In the win, Drame became the 38th player to reach 1,000 career-points.
“We didn’t miss many shots today, but when we did I was able to find the ball and put it back,” Drame said.
Drame blocked Vermont’s Hector Harold in the first half of Sunday’s win, giving him a program all-time best 147 career blocks. The senior defended Vermont’s scoring leader Ethan O’Day for most of the game.
“[Drame] took on the challenge,” Moore said. “He was very good at getting low, trying to get post position.”
Moore added that Drame is “between 75 and 80 percent” recovered from his torn achilles tendon, and that the senior now has tendinitis in his ailing knee.
“It will probably be weeks before he says ‘I feel good,’” Moore said.
Senior Evan Conti led the way in the first half for Quinnipiac, scoring 17 of his career-high 22 points during the first 20 minutes. He also added seven rebounds and four assists.
“Evan’s shots early let us, as a team, exhale,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. “Evan is a very tough-minded guy. Like everybody, he was a bit stuck in a slump. The God’s of basketball rewarded a kid who put in extra time, so he deserved it.”
The Bobcats took a 43-24 lead into the break.
“Our goal was just to make sure we play harder than Vermont for the whole game,” Conti said. “We wanted to make sure we played harder than them in the first four minutes, and each. four-minutes we wanted to win the energy battle.”
Vermont then opened up the second half on a 9-2 run, cutting Quinnipiac’s lead to 12 points in the first 3:17 of the second half. The Bobcats were able to hold on, though, as they closed out the second half by halting Vermont’s comeback effort.
With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 3-2 on the season. The Bobcats are back in action on Friday, as they travel to Siena for a 7 p.m. start.