Quinnipiac breaks five-game skid in strong team win over Canisius 66-64

Dalton Rice, Contributing Writer

The Quinnipiac Bobcats (12-13 overall, 7-8 MAAC) came out on top over the Canisius Golden Griffins (9-17 overall, 4-11 MAAC) Friday night 66-64, breaking a five-game losing streak.

Morgan Tencza
Junior guard Rich Kelly drives to the rim for two of his 17 points.

Both teams came out firing and went into the locker room at halftime after a physical half of basketball. At the half, Canisius held a lead in shooting percentage and 3-point percentage as well as a seven-point lead over the Bobcats.

Quinnipiac came out strong in the second half and held Canisius to only 25 points in the final 20 minutes of the game, while the Bobcats put up 34 points of their own to close out the game.

Quinnipiac’s offense was led by junior guard Rich Kelly who scored 17 points and added three assists. He scored 12 points in the final frame and graduate student forward Aaron Falzon put up a season-high 16 points.

The Bobcats were also anchored on defense by redshirt junior Kevin Marfo who registered a career-high five blocks including a game-clinching block in the final seconds and his 14th double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

“It was my time to step up and make a play for my teammates, and that’s what I did. Same thing with Aaron (Falzon) making those free throws,” Marfo said. “We all were doing our jobs for our team, and we gotta play with a certain urgency and conviction and that was my time to make that play and I did.”

While Canisius led for the majority of the game, the Bobcats came through in the clutch. After the final media timeout, Canisius missed three shots, turned the ball over and allowed Quinnipiac to preserve the small lead.

After a Canisius 3-pointer, Falzon iced the game by hitting the front end of a one-and-one. With 13 seconds left in the game, Canisius was given two chances to regain a lead, but thanks to Marfo’s block, the Bobcats were able to sneak away with a win in a nationally televised game.

“After losing five in a row, it’s like drowning,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said. “As a coach and a program, we keep reminding ourselves that (losing) is not what it’s about. It’s about playing your best basketball at the end of the year, so if you get paralyzed by the losing and you’re not improving, you just gotta keep moving forward and getting better.”

The Bobcats hope to stick to their winning ways this Sunday as they travel to New Jersey to take on the third-place Monmouth University Hawks (15-11 overall, 9-6 MAAC) at 2 p.m.