Quinnipiac men’s basketball squeaks past Manhattan, 71-70

Peter Dewey

[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Another game, another nail-biter for the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team. Tonight, it was graduate student guard Isaiah Washington’s layup with 6.7 seconds left that lifted the Bobcats to their 10th win of the season, a 71-70 victory over Manhattan (12-15, 7-8 MAAC).

Quinnipiac (10-17, 7-8 MAAC) led for over 26 minutes in this one, but Manhattan’s senior guard Rich Williams gave the Jaspers the lead with just 18 seconds to play, knocking down his fifth 3-pointer of the night.  But it was senior guard Cam Young who picked up his fifth and final assist of the night, finding Washington underneath for the win.

“When I came down, I was trying to be aggressive, so I was looking to score first,” Young said.  “I didn’t have anything so I turned and I saw [Washington] cutting, which we always work on, so it was an easy play.”

Quinnipiac has been no stranger to close games, with six of its wins coming by two points or less.

“I think there is a comfort level for us being in [close games],” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said. “I don’t think anybody is panicking. Rich Williams made a great shot at the end. We could’ve done a little better job, but [Williams] is just a great talented player.”

Williams finished with 29 points, as he and Young seemed to go shot for shot all night.

[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Young led the Bobcats in points and assists, as he finished 7-for-13 from the field and 11-for-12 from the line en route to a 27-point performance. Still, Dunleavy was most impressed with how Young and his teammates were able to spread the ball around.

“We really shared the ball, we weren’t scared to pass it,” Dunleavy said. “[Young] had five assists to two turnovers which is great. I just thought we got in the lane in made good plays.”

Manhattan threw a few defensive looks at the Bobcats, starting in a 2-3 zone before transitioning to a 1-3-1 later in the half. The Jaspers also applied a lot of full court pressure looking to force some turnovers.  However, Dunleavy’s game plan was to attack, rather than let Manhattan dictate how they played offense.

“We just didn’t want to sit back and figure out what they were in all the time,” Dunleavy said.  “They do a great job of disguising and switching defenses, so we tried to come up with some things that we could do offensively that we thought would work against anything they ran, just simple concepts and just being aggressive.”

Manhattan came into the game forcing 15.5 turnovers per game, good for 30th in the country. But the Bobcats turned it over just 13 times and picked up 16 assists.

“In our practices this week we tried to simulate how they play, how they like to pressure you, and just be solid against it,” Washington said. “It’s something we definitely talked about, being aggressive and making plays.”

After losing four games in a row, three in which they turned the ball over more than 15 times, Dunleavy was impressed with his team’s ball security, but was adamant that everything started on the defensive side of the floor.

[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“I think today we gave more of a 40 minute consistent effort,” Dunleavy said.  “I think we we’re just locked in on the defensive end.”

Quinnipiac moved into a tie with Manhattan for fifth place in the conference with the win, and will get another game against the Jaspers on Feb. 25. Regardless of where they sit in the standings, Dunleavy wants his team to continue to bring consistent effort.

“I hope we embody our mantra which is ‘attitude,’” Dunleavy said. “You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond. If nothing else, even if you do lose a game, people will respect that about you if you battle.”

Quinnipiac will travel Fairfield on Saturday to take on the Stags (11-15, 6-9 MAAC) as they look to get back to .500 in conference play.