Luis Kortright falls just short of history as Quinnipiac improves to 9-2


Peyton McKenzie

Junior guard Luis Kortright fell just one assist shy of what would have been Quinnipiac’s first triple-double since 2010.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn — Led by a historic performance from junior guard Luis Kortright, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team won its ninth game of the year in convincing fashion, knocking off the Lafayette Leopards 76-63 Saturday afternoon. 

Adding onto his already-impressive season, Kortright came so close to etching his name into the Quinnipiac record book. Thanks to his 14 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, Kortright was one assist away from recording the first  triple-double for the Bobcats since James Feldeine racked up 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds against Monmouth on Mar. 25, 2010.

“I saw a clear mind ready to make the right play,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said. “You have to be unselfish … A guy like Luis who can make every play, then you have the chance for something special.”

Right out of the gates, the Bobcats destroyed a Leopards team that was 1-9 coming into the game. Redshirt senior guard Matt Balanc took control early, drilling a pair of three-point shots. After the first 20 minutes, Balanc had 12 points, as well as two rebounds.

The Maryland native tacked on another five points in the second half, but was fine to step aside for Kortright’s career game.

“Everyone on this team can get 17 almost every night,” Balanc said. “He was able to do a little bit more … I’m not surprised, I see it every day in practice.”

Both Kortright and Balanc took a larger role in facilitating the offense that was missing a key reserve. 

Prior to the game, a source confirmed to the Chronicle that redshirt senior guard Savion Lewis would not be playing due to load management. Lewis is working back from an Achilles injury he suffered last season and made his first start against Holy Cross on Dec. 7.

For the Leopards, sophomore guard T.J. Berger was their best shooter on the afternoon. The San Diego transfer scored five times from beyond the arc and kept the Patriot League bottom-feeders close.

“Not an easy team to beat,” Dunleavy said. “Obviously, a lot (a room) to grow.”

Once the second half started, Lafayette began to climb back into the game. Lights-out shooting and defensive breakdowns by the Bobcats allowed the Leopards to pull to within double-digits. Big buckets by junior forward Kyle Jenkins and senior forward Leo O’Boyle helped make the game closer than it should have been.

“They’re one of the best shooting teams in the country,” Dunleavy said. “That’s something that we really struggle with, defending multiple shooters. They had 12 threes … overall, I thought our communication was really good.”

During that 8-0 stretch, Kortright was subbed out and went over to the Quinnipiac tunnel. The Bobcats leading scorer was looked at by a trainer and got his right ankle/leg taped near the locker room. After conversations with the training staff, Kortright returned to the floor. 

Later in the half, only needing two assists, Dunleavy took him out, who quickly went to the stationary bike to stay warm. He was brought in at the 5:25 mark after a huge and-one play by graduate student forward Ike Nweke. 

Although a late missed layup from Nweke meant he fell just one helper short of a triple-double, Kortright did not seem to mind. 

“I wanna get (the triple-double) personally, but the team is first,” Kortright said. “All that didn’t matter … That’s something me and him are going to laugh about forever, but (it’s) nothing that is going to affect anything.”

As the game winded down, the Bobcats pulled away, solidifying their win with some strong defensive stops on the other side of the court. 

“I think we are getting better at responding,” Balanc said. “We used to be a team that would come out in the second half and wouldn’t have that fire from the first half. I think we are getting better … (at) trying to continue (that) energy.”

Quinnipiac will now head onto the road for games against Saint Peter’s on Dec. 18, and Penn State on Dec. 22, before starting an 18 game stretch against MAAC opponents. Although a brutal conference schedule looms on the horizon, the team is not worried about anyone but themselves.

“If we play hard and just keep that mindset for 40 minutes, we good,” Kortright said.