Quinnipiac men’s basketball off to best start in 50 years as Balanc shines in win over Albertus Magnus


Jack Spiegel

Luis Kortright matched his season high in points with 15, while going 6-7 from the field.

Connor Wilson, Contributing Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – For the first time since the 1969-70 season, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team has started a season 5-0 as it defeated the Albertus Magnus Falcons 86-68 on Friday afternoon at M&T Bank Arena.

The Bobcats took the lead and never looked back, as they had a noticeable advantage over their Division III opponent. Head coach Baker Dunleavy is impressed with how his team has opened up the new year.

“The main takeaway from the first five games is our resiliency,” Dunleavy said. “The ability to battle and get it done, but then in general also some peaks and valleys that we need to be more consistent in.”

The story of the game this afternoon was Matt Balanc, as the redshirt senior guard scored 22 points and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 5-for-5 from downtown. It was a complete team effort as four players scored in double figures in the victory. It was the first time since 2012 that a Quinnipiac player took five or more shots and was perfect from the field (Ousmane Drame against Iona).

“I’m just doing what I’m good at,” Balanc said. “I’m here to lead the team and do whatever I can to help. On days I don’t score, I’ll do the other things. On days I do score, I’ll do that and the other things.”

Junior guard Luis Kortright had one of his better games from the field this season, shooting 6-for-7 and matching his season high with 15 points. Redshirt junior forward J.J. Riggins scored in double figures for the second time this season and the third time in his career, as he finished with 12 points.

For the Falcons, never really went away and were hovering around that 10-12 point deficit margin for a portion of the second half. Nonetheless, the Bobcats were able to pull away and pick up their fifth straight victory to start the season.

“For us it’s about consistency,” Dunleavy said. “You don’t win by 20 by having a great finish to the game, you win by 20, or extend leads, by rebounding and defending for 40 minutes.”

The Falcons were led in scoring by the duo of junior guard Antonio Bonilla and graduate student forward Terry Dawkins, who each scored 13 points. Head coach Mitch Oliver’s squad shot 44.4% from the field, but just 33.3% from three and that was the difference maker.

“Albertus Magnus is a really well coached team,” Dunleavy said. “When you play these games that are non-Division I, you want to make sure you’re still choosing well coached and organized opponents.”

Junior forward Paul Otieno and graduate student forward Ike Nweke each took similar falls late in the game after blocking shots. Both exited the game, but Dunleavy ensured they will be alright going forward.

“Both are just fine. A couple of falls that were high impact but they were able to recover pretty quickly,” Dunleavy said.

Up next for Quinnipiac is the Northern Classic as the Bobcats travel to Quebec for matchups against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 25, Montana St. on Nov. 26, and Hofstra on Nov. 27. The tournament will be a good test to see how Quinnipiac can perform against higher competition before heading into MAAC play.