A record setting 2,012 fans filled the Pitt Center at Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon to see the Pioneers upend the Bobcats 75-74 in a possible preview of the NEC championship game.
DeMario Anderson led the Bobcats with 30 points and 11 rebounds, but it did was not enough for the Bobcats. The teams traded buckets early on in the first half, but the Pioneers opened up a seven point lead heading into halftime, 36-29, after a Bryan Geffen foul resulted in three free throws for the Pioneers.
The Bobcats fought back as the second half became a see-saw and a foul fest. Justin Rutty had a solid game in the paint for the Bobcats. He finished the night with 12 points , eight in the second half, on 6-of-9 shooting,.
The charged up atmosphere just proved that the in-state rivalry is picking up steam.
“We were in a dogfight tonight”, said Pioneers Head Coach Dave Bike after the game. “This rivalry is definitely growing.”
For the Pioneers, free throw shooting down the stretch proved to be the difference. They knocked down 10-of-12 over the last five minutes, highlighted by Drew Shubik, who shot 6-of-8, including four straight in the last 1:10.
The end of the second half was back and forth with Shubik, who led the Pioneers with 20 points on 7-10 free throw shooting, hitting a pair of free throws to go ahead 71-70. The Bobcats retaliated right away when Bryan Geffen hit a floater at the 1:25 minute mark.
The lead changes kept
happening and then the Bobcats had the ball for the final possession. There was a stoppage in play with 1.6 seconds left in the game. Geffen threw the pass from under the Bobcats basket for an attempted tip in by Anderson, but his shot missed, as the Bobcats fell 75-74.
The loss dropped Quinnipiac to 10-9 overall, 6-2 in NEC play.
“The team that played better won the game”, said Bobcats Head Coach Tom Moore. “We still have so much to prove in this league.”
“As a team we didn’t execute or defend, or just play hard enough”, Anderson said. “One or two stops would’ve ended this game.”
The Bobcats will return to action on Jan. 31 when they host St. Francis P.A. at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.