With the spring semester underway, the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team got off on the right foot with two impressive Northeast Conference victories at home last week.
On Monday night, the Bobcats defeated the Long Island University Blackbirds 82-69, and on Thursday held off the Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers 68-62. The two wins improved Quinnipiac to 3-6 in the NEC, and 8-10 overall. The win on Thursday night gave head coach Joe DeSantis his 100th career victory.
Senior forward Kevin Jolley led Quinnipiac with a 16-point, 10-rebound effort against LIU. It was his fourth double-double of the season and number 12 for his career. Also in double figures Monday night were junior guards Adam Gonzalez and John Winchester with 15 points a piece, senior guard Craig Benson with 12, and junior forward Chris Wehye with 11 points.
The Bobcats took a 6-4 lead at the 15:21 mark of the first half and never relinquished it.
“Whatever I can do to help the team,” Jolley said. “We’ve been playing better recently. We’re all coming together more and more both on and off the court. The coaches are finding out who plays well with whom and we’re just feeding off of it.”
Thursday night’s contest against Mount St. Mary’s played out the same way. The Bobcats never trailed throughout the game, building a 13-0 lead over the opening 6:47 of the game and staving off numerous Mountaineers rushes until the end.
Sophomore center Karl Anderson led the Bobcats with 15 points, with Wehye (11), Benson (12), Gonzalez (10) and Winchester (10) all reaching double figures again.
The game wasn’t without its drama though. The Mountaineers went on a 17-3 run late in the first half to cut the deficit to 26-23, including three 3-pointers by sensational guard Landy Thompson in just under two minutes.
“Other than that four or five minute stretch, when Landy made three 3’s and Charles Cook made a shot, and they cut the 17 point lead down to three, we played great,” DeSantis said.
“I have to give Benson credit because we asked him to stop Thompson, and outside of that stretch he only had eight more points. The defense was geared towards containing him and the team did a good job of it.”
These wins came off a rough stretch for the Bobcats. During winter break, the Bobcats went 2-7, including two overtime losses to NEC foe Monmouth and a 10 point defeat at Central Connecticut. But DeSantis is optimistic about the upcoming schedule.
“We’ve had a tough league schedule up to this point,” DeSantis said. “We were able to get these last couple of wins because we played good teams early. It’s going to be a grind, and we are going to be there at the end.”
The Bobcats act didn’t fare as well away from Burt Kahn Court. Quinnipiac fell to St. Francis (N.Y.) 70-66 on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats play two home games this week, hosting Sacred Heart on Thursday at 7 p.m. and St. Francis (N.Y.) on Saturday at 4 p.m.