The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team dropped its season opener to Vermont on Saturday by a final score of 94-70.
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The Bobcats got off to a quick start, leading 10-6 early, but quickly fell behind to a 43-25 deficit at the half.
“Starting with me, Danny (Harris) and Phil (Winston) need to keep up the energy,” junior guard Reggie Oliver said. “A couple times I saw us drop our heads after they scored and that brought our momentum down. I put that on myself because I can usually pick up everyone’s energy.”
Oliver, a junior college transfer, was a bright spot for the Bobcats, scoring nine first half points on three 3-pointers. He finished the game with a team-high 15 points.
While the Bobcats put up 33 first half shots to the Catamounts’ 28, it was the shooting percentage that caused the scoring separation. Quinnipiac shot 30.3 percent in the first half while Vermont shot 57.1 percent.
The second half was much of the same. Even though Quinnipiac improved to 40.6 percent shooting, Vermont went up to 61.1 percent.
For Vermont, it was freshman Anthony Lamb leading the way with 23 points in his collegiate debut. Junior guard Trae Bell-Haynes also added 16 points and eight assists.
“The problem was in the half court. Our man defense was really bad,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. “They were really good offensively. Bell-Haynes and Lamb drive really hard to the basket every time. We need to get tougher against half-court man.”
Another discrepancy between the teams was rebounding, something Quinnipiac prides itself on. The Bobcats have led the nation in at least one rebounding category each of the last six seasons.
In the first half, Quinnipiac was outrebounded 22 to 12 and lost the total rebounding battle 40 to 26.
“Being minus-14 on the glass is unacceptable in any game,” senior guard Daniel Harris said. “That is terrible. We need to rebound better from the guard position.”
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Despite the loss, the Bobcats are already moving past this game.
“We’re a new team with a lot of new guys,” Harris said. “It’s going to be a long season, we have to trust the process. It’s going to take time. It will get better.”
Along with Lamb, Catamounts bigman Payton Henson was able to dominate the glass. Lamb had nine rebounds and Henson pulled down seven.
Junior Chaise Daniels scored 11 in the Bobcats loss, and Harris and freshman Mikey Dixon added 10 apiece.
The Bobcats will play their next game on Monday, Nov. 21 at home against Columbia. Moore believes his team can improve in many ways before that matchup and that it will be ready.
“This will be great tape for us to watch because there’s so many things we didn’t do well that got exposed,” Moore said. “It’s going to test our togetherness and resilience.”