It may not have been pretty, but the end result was a positive one. Despite losing the final game of the season, the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team will extend its season by at least one more game thanks to a loss by St. Francis (N.Y.).
The Bobcats fell to Central Connecticut State University, 79-67, on Monday night at the Burt Kahn Court. But the Terriers also lost their home finale to Long Island University. The losses put both teams at the 7-11 mark in the NEC, with Quinnipiac winning the tiebreaker and clinching the 8th and final spot in the NEC tournament.
The Bobcats were lead by junior guard Adam Gonzalez, who scored a career-high 25 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Sophomore forward Karl Anderson was the only other Bobcats player in double figures, scoring 13 points.
As far as the seniors went, Craig Benson scored eight points, all in the second half, and forward Kevin Jolley scored 7 and grabbed 13 boards. Nicholas Tipson did not enter the game.
The Bobcats trailed for nearly the entire game, with the Blue Devils grabbing a 22-21 lead with 6:10 left in the first half and never looking back. Whenever it looked like the Bobcats were going to get back in the game, Central had an answer on offense, as the Quinnipiac defense was porous throughout the night.
The crowd was raucous all night, as many Central fans were in the crowd. But they were met with chants of “state school” and “you can’t afford this” from a loud section of Quinnipiac students.
Quinnipiac head coach Joe DeSantis said that despite the loss, he was proud of his team’s effort.
“I think this team deserved to be in, were as good as anybody in the tournament,” DeSantis said. “We’ve had some tough losses this year. We’re going to play well on Thursday.”
On Thursday the Bobcats will travel to Teaneck, N.J. to play No. 1 seed and defending champion Farleigh Dickinson. The Bobcats split the season series with FDU, with each team winning on its home court.
This is the first NEC tournament appearance for the Bobcats since the 2003 season. That season, they finished fourth in the conference and defeated St. Francis (Pa.) in the first round, before falling to eventual champion Wagner. The winner of the NEC tournament gets an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.