Quinnipiac kicks off Quebec road trip with an impressive 58-44 upset of Stephen F. Austin


Jack Spiegel

Junior forward Paul Otieno scored double-digit points for the third straight game en route to his first double-double as a Quinnipiac Bobcat.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

It took over seven hours to make the trip to Québec, but the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team continued its undefeated stretch, beating the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 58-44 in the Northern Classic opening game on Friday. 

Stephen F. Austin, who came into the game as 5.5 point favorites, struggled to come up with big baskets and allowed the Bobcats to maintain a lead throughout the afternoon. In fact, both teams found offensive production to be a hassle, as 27 combined turnovers were committed in the first 20 minutes and 46 overall. 

The first half went by in a blur, with both teams exchanging baskets and giveaways at will. Quinnipiac junior forward Paul Otieno had a monster start to the game, recording 13 points and eight rebounds in the first frame, all without missing a shot from the field. In total, Otieno recorded 15 rebounds in the game, setting a new career-high. 

For the Lumberjacks, graduate student guard Nigel Hawkins was far and away the best player on the floor. The Houston native led the team with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists on the day, but was unable to lead his team to its fourth victory of the season.

To kick off the second half, the Bobcats went with the same lineup they started the game with. Junior guard Dezi Jones, who went scoreless in the game, manned the point guard position, allowing Quinnipiac to spread the ball around the perimeter looking for an open shot.   

With under five minutes into the second half, the Lumberjacks were able to showcase why they stand third in the Western Athletic Conference. Big shots from the floor by graduate student guard Roti Ware allowed Stephen F. Austin to even the game at 35 heading into a media timeout. 

Coming out of the stoppage, the Bobcats were explosive. Redshirt senior guard Matt Balanc made a nifty basket underneath the net and on the defensive side, the team looked faster. 

But faster does not always mean better. Quinnipiac was unable to record a basket for the next four minutes and instead got called for a number of fouls, including ones on Jones and graduate student forward Ike Nweke. 

The Bobcats were helped down the stretch by Lumberjacks junior guard A.J. Cajuste, who did not record a basket in the game, but did turn the ball over three times. While Cajuste did not contribute in the scoring department, his four rebounds were a strong aspect for Stephen F. Austin as it tried to stay competitive as the game winded down. 

Quinnipiac junior guard Luis Kortright continued his ridiculous scoring breakout, dropping 10+ points for the fourth time this season. For context, Kortright only recorded double-digit points three times last year. In the second half alone, he scored eight points off the bench in the middle of a 13-0 run by the Bobcats. 

Quinnipiac, who is on a historic six-game winning streak to open up the year, will now prepare for its second game in the Northern Classic tomorrow as it will face off against Montana State at 7 p.m.