Balanc leads Bobcats to 72-70 comeback over CCSU as historic start continues


Cameron Levasseur

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team has started the season 3-0 for the first time in program history.

Connor Wilson, Contributing Writer

Playing in their third consecutive road game to start the 2022-23 season, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team defeated the CCSU Blue Devils 72-70 on Sunday afternoon in New Britain.

The victory is a big one for the Bobcats as a program, as it marks the first time they’ve started 3-0 since they made the switch to Division I prior to the 1998-99 season.

Matt Balanc came up huge for the Bobcats once again, as the redshirt senior guard scored a team-high 17 points (7-14 shooting) and hit the go-ahead three pointer with just over 30 seconds left. Balanc also had some acrobatic finishes at the rim and was a pest all afternoon for the Blue Devils.

As for the rest of the Bobcats, junior guard Tymu Chenery and graduate student forward Ike Nweke joined Balanc in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Chenery also had six rebounds. Sophomore forward Alexis Reyes once again was a spark plug off the bench, scoring seven points and making two threes.

The Blue Devils were in control for a large portion of the game, leading by as many as 10 points early in the second half. However, the Bobcats went on a 16-5 run over a five minute span to retake the lead and the two squads went back and forth the rest of the way.

Despite the victory, Quinnipiac struggled mightily from the free throw line. They ended 11-for-26, but at one point were 3-for-16 from the stripe. Junior guard Luis Kortright accounted for a lot of those misses, as he only made one free throw on seven attempts.

While most of the Bobcats couldn’t make a free throw to save the world, redshirt senior guard Savion Lewis went 7-8 from the stripe, including some big trips down the stretch. Those free throws made up all seven of Lewis’ points, who also recorded a season-high seven assists.

On the other side, the Blue Devils were led by sophomore wing Andre Snoddy, who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The double-double was the fifth of Snoddy’s collegiate career. Graduate student guard Nigel Scantlebury poured in 16 points and sophomore guard Davonte Sweatman added 15 points off the bench. 

Blue Devils head coach Patrick Sellers praised Scantlebury postgame for his leadership.

“Nigel’s a big time leader, man,” Sellers said. “A fifth-year senior, he’s been around. Nigel and Andre Snoddy are our captains, those guys are tough and stick together.”

After Balanc hit the go-ahead shot late in the second half, Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy elected to have his players foul to prevent the Blue Devils from getting a game-tying shot attempt. The plan worked up until Balanc went 50% from the free throw line with 5.9 seconds remaining, making it just a two point game. 

Scantlebury marched down the court and found a wide-open Sweatman on the wing, but he rushed the game-winning attempt and drilled the side of the backboard, securing the hard fought victory for the Bobcats.

“Good look, really good look,” Sellers said. “He just rushed the shot and I think if he just set his feet he had a shot to make it.”

For the Bobcats, junior forward Paul Otieno was back in the rotation Sunday, scoring six points and grabbing eight rebounds. Otieno played just five minutes in the win against Stonehill on Thursday. Dunleavy confirmed earlier in the week that there was no injury issue there.

Quinnipiac will finally get to play a home game at the newly-renamed M&T Bank Arena as the Bobcats play host to Dartmouth on Tuesday at 7 p.m.