The next step

The+next+step

Logan Reardon

[media-credit id=2148 align=”alignright” width=”300″]IMG_5509[/media-credit]

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball season came to an early end on Thursday when Niagara knocked the Bobcats out in the first round of the MAAC Tournament.

After a thrilling last-second victory over Fairfield on Feb. 6 to improve to 7-6 in the MAAC, the Bobcats finished the season with a 7-13 record in the MAAC, 10-21 overall and on a seven-game losing streak.

As a result of the poor season, Quinnipiac has relieved head coach Tom Moore of his duties, and are expected to begin a coaching search immediately. In 10 seasons at the helm, Moore failed to win any conference championships and his teams struggled to a 19-42 record over the past two seasons.

It was a streaky season for Quinnipiac. Starting the season on a four-game losing streak did not bode well for the Bobcats. The team followed that up with a solid run of four wins in six tries. Quinnipiac then proceeded to lose five of their next seven from Dec. 21 to Jan. 12. The next seven games saw two wins, three losses and two wins, and of course, the final seven games all resulted in losses.

Overall, the Bobcats had stretches where they played a real-quality brand of basketball, but they were far too inconsistent throughout the course of the season to make any real noise in the MAAC.

The problem that plagued Quinnipiac for much of the season was its defense. The defense surrendered 83.3 points per game, ranking the team tied for 336 out of 347 Division I teams in total defense. For an improvement in the future, defense has to be something that must improve gradually.

Despite the poor record and lackluster defense, the Bobcats can take away positives from the year. It was a great season for the Bobcats in terms of development.

Freshmen guards Mikey Dixon and Peter Kiss led the team in scoring with 16.5 and 13.3 points per game, respectively. They also led the team in minutes with 29.8 per game each. After coming off the bench for the first 11 games of the season, the freshmen quickly took over starting backcourt duties and changed the dynamic of Quinnipiac basketball drastically.

While the insertion into the starting lineup did not pay immediate dividends in the win column for the Bobcats this season, it should over the course of the next three years. In the final 20 games of the season, Dixon and Kiss provided a glimpse into the future of Quinnipiac men’s basketball, a future that looks bright.

Having two freshmen leading the team in scoring can only mean good things to come. Dixon’s ability to put the ball in the basket and Kiss’s well-rounded overall game will prove to be key for the Bobcats over the next three seasons.

Besides the emergence of Dixon and Kiss, another positive for Quinnipiac going into next season is rising senior forward Chaise Daniels, who was third on the team in scoring at 13.0 points per game and 11th in the conference in rebounding (6.2 boards per game). Coming into next season, Daniels will be expected to be one of the top big men in the MAAC.

While the Bobcats endured yet another rough season, the future of the program is noticeably positive. The team will benefit as most of its key players are returning.

Despite losing the leadership of senior guard Daniel Harris and the rebounding and shot-blocking of senior forward Donovan Smith, the returning Bobcats will be another year wiser, more experienced and poised to make a strong run in the MAAC come the 2017-18 season.