Bench provides spark, carries men’s basketball over Marist

Justin Cait

Coming off of back-to-back wins, Quinnipiac men’s basketball extended its winning streak to three games after Thursday night’s victory at home against Marist.

“The ball going in the basket early in games just takes a weight off of your shoulders,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. “You get a little lead and you feel like you can play from ahead.”

The Bobcats grabbed an early lead and never looked back after Danny Harris drained back-to-back three-pointers followed by another set of back-to-back threes from freshman guard Andrew Robinson.

Not only did Robinson match his career high in three-pointers off of those shots, but he added another three shots from downtown to go 5-7 from long range in the first half alone.

“It felt good,” Robinson said. “It was my first three since Oregon State [game], so you see one go through the rim and it felt good.”

Harris and Robinson were not the only ones knocking down long range shots tonight. Sophomore guards Dimitri Floras and Ayron Hutton also contributed from deep, going a combined 2-2 for three.

“It’s really nice to see our guys have really good shooting nights,” Moore said. “It’s fun for them and it’s nice to play with a lead.”

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After junior forward Donovan Smith drew contact and made a basket with three seconds left in the first half, Quinnipiac took a 47-25 lead into halftime.

The Bobcats wasted no time picking up right where they left off in the second half through an 8-0 run that improved their lead to 55-27 just three minutes into the half.

“We’re all starting to gel,” Harris said. “Chemistry is coming together and we have a lot of confidence.”

Defensively, Quinnipiac held Marist to just 27.1% shooting from the field. Smith and sophomore forward Chaise Daniels combined for six blocks while James Ford Jr. totaled three steals to lead the way for the Bobcats.

“The stat I was most proud of was the 27% field goal percentage,” Moore said. “We have James Ford leading that charge and three guys at the rim. The jobs that they did on Khallid Hart and Brian Parker were phenomenal, and the big guys who helped on the drives.”

Quinnipiac managed to shut down Red Foxes’ guards Hart and Khallid, limiting them to a combined 7-28, 25% shooting from the field.

Once the Bobcats were up by 23 points, the bench was rewarded for their hard work earlier on in the game. Freshman guard Aaron Robinson, sophomore guard Jemaa Yuori, senior center Will Simonton, and sophomore forward Alain Chigha all made appearances.

Aaron Robinson totaled 3 points on 1-3 shooting from the field, Chigha totaled 2 points in just five minutes played, and Simonton drew a big charging foul for the Bobcats.

“Being on the bench sometimes and coming into games you can be cold,” Ford Jr. said. “Confidence is what we all have right now and everything can go well.”

Going forward, Quinnipiac hopes to build off of a few confidence fueled next games.

“We’re a big team, we’re athletic, we’re very capable of shooting the three as we’ve been doing lately,” added Ford Jr. “Right now we’re probably like a game or two outside of 4th place — I think we could be top four, I’m not gonna say top three just yet.”

Next up the Bobcats travel to Jersey City, NJ and look to extend its winning streak against Saint Peter’s College on Feb. 8.

“Everybody, even the guys who are used to scoring a lot of points, all had smiles on the bench for the whole night,” Moore said. “All smiles at halftime and in the room, so it’s a real unselfish group and they’re excited for their teammates.”