Men’s basketball drops Senior Day game to Rider

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Conor Roche

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The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team (10-20, 7-13 MAAC) blew a halftime lead in a 99-82 loss at home to Rider (17-14, 10-10 MAAC) in its regular season finale on Sunday.

The Bobcats went into the locker room at halftime up 51-45 while shooting 54.3 percent from the field. But just a couple of minutes into the second half, the Broncos would go on a 19-3 run over a six-minute stretch to put them up 66-58, getting points from four players during the run.

After Quinnipiac’s Daniel Harris and Abdulai Bundu made some free throws for the Bobcats and a couple of scoring possessions for the Broncos, Stevie Jordan tossed an alley-oop from half court Norville Corey, who dunked it home to put the Broncos up 72-62 with 9:09 remaining. The Broncos led by double digits for most of the game following the dunk.

“We’re not playing well enough,” Bobcats head coach Tom Moore said. “We just have too many times where we were just so fatigue and mindlessness on defense.”

The Broncos went on to outscore the Bobcats 54-31 in the second half, shooting 58.8 percent from the field to the Bobcats’ 33.3 percent. The Bobcats also committed 13 turnovers in the second half while the Broncos committed seven.

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“I think they just picked up their intensity and focus,” Moore said on the Broncos’ second half effort. “I just noticed that they were more attentive to their rotations on off-ball screens. They got their hands up and we tried to straight line pass through those.”

Most of the Broncos’ scoring on Sunday afternoon came from the paint, scoring 60 of their 99 points there.

Quinnipiac freshman guard Mikey Dixon led all scorers with 28 points, adding in a team-high five assists. Dixon’s freshman guard counterpart, Peter Kiss, only played 13 minutes on Sunday due to a fever that’s been bugging him for the past week, according to coach Moore.

Forward Khalil Thomas led the Broncos with 21 points while Jordan led all players with 13 assists.

Sunday was also Senior Day for the Bobcats as the team honored forward Alain Chigha, guard Daniel Harris and injured center Donovan Smith before the game.

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“I wish I had more time with Donovan and Danny. It’s a blessing and a curse with junior college kids,” Moore said. “Al has been a rock and anchor and consistent leader and selfless person and athlete… Al Chigha is a foxhole person.”

Sunday was the final home game for both Chigha and Harris, while Smith has been injured since January with a broken foot.

“Those guys have been really good to me,” sophomore forward Andrew Robinson said. “I think all three of those guys left a good impact.”

The Bobcats will take their six-game losing streak to Albany in the MAAC Tournament. The Bobcats are the eighth seed in the tournament and will play their first game Thursday evening against either Niagara or Marist. If the Bobcats win that game, they will face Monmouth on Friday night, who is the heavy favorite to win the tournament. If the Bobcats win the conference tournament, they will play in their first ever NCAA Tournament.