Quinnipiac grabs first MAAC win, stomps Manhattan on New Year’s Day


Daniel Passapera

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team won its first conference matchup of the 2022-23 season on Sunday.

Zack Hochberg, Staff Writer

New year, new team. After falling to 0-3 in MAAC play in 2022, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team turned the page to 2023, beating the Manhattan Jaspers 84-65 for its first MAAC win on Sunday. 

Junior forward Paul Otieno came out with force for the Bobcats, putting up nine points, six rebounds and one block on 4-4 shooting in the first nine minutes of the contest. 

Otieno had to take a seat after Manhattan’s senior forward Adam Cisse got a tough bucket to fall while drawing a foul on Otieno, his second of the half, and giving the Jaspers an early 14-11 lead. 

The Kilgore College transfer’s effort set the tone for the entire afternoon for the Bobcats. With the big man on the bench, redshirt senior guard Matt Balanc stepped up, knocking down a three to give the Bobcats a 19-16 lead, their first lead of the game. 

After Quinnipiac struggled to drain anything from beyond the arc for the majority of the half, Balanc’s three pointer ignited a spark in the Bobcats’ offense. 

Balanc and graduate student guard Tyrese Williams both converted on four-point plays shortly after, capping off a 10-2 Quinnipiac run in a minute and a half. The quick run helped the Bobcats up to a nine point advantage.

The three-point barrage kept on coming as the Bobcats moved the ball well and pushed the tempo en route to knocking down seven of their 11 three-pointers over the last ten minutes of the first frame. The hot shooting turned a one-possession battle into a ten-point halftime lead for the visitors. 

Out of the halftime break, the Jaspers tried to regain momentum, cutting the Bobcats lead to five before Quinnipiac ultimately put its foot back on the pedal, continuing to play as a team on the offensive end to push its advantage back to 11. 

As the Bobcats maintained their domination, better ball movement allowed junior guard Dezi Jones to find some space on a cut to convert on a tough layup, pushing the Quinnipiac lead to 20.

Manhattan showed a tiny bit of life, going on a 6-0 run of its own, but Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy shut down that momentum with a timeout. 

After failing to score double-digit points in any of his previous games, Balanc crossed the 20-point mark late in the second half, a welcome sign for the Bobcats, who have missed his scoring throughout their first three conference games.

Redshirt senior Savion Lewis returned to the arena where he tore his ACL last season and played one of his better games as a Bobcat. Lewis’ vision allowed him to find Otieno for an and-one, pushing the Quinnipiac lead to 22 with less than three minutes left, the lead was the Bobcats’ largest of the game.

The victory moved Quinnipiac to 1-3 in MAAC play and 10-5 overall. The Bobcats will be back in action on Jan. 6, as they travel to New Jersey to take on Rider at 7 p.m.