Bobcats dominate defensively in 81-58 victory over Iona


Peyton McKenzie

Junior guard Dezi Jones finished the day with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Seth Fromowitz, Staff Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – After two road victories over Manhattan and Rider, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team defeated the Iona Gaels 81-58 Sunday, never trailing throughout the entire game.

“We put together our best defensive performance of the year,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavey said. “We really concentrated at a high level in terms of game plan and effort.”

In the first half, Quinnipiac’s defense forced Iona to only make eight of its 30 shot attempts from the floor, a figure the Gaels nearly doubled to open their last game against Marist on Jan. 6.

“Transition defense,” Dunleavey said when talking about how Quinnipiac took on Iona’s offense. “They are as fast as any team in the country in terms of how they get out and get easy baskets … you can’t take terrible shots and you can’t let them turn you over.”

Leading the charge for the Bobcats was junior guard Dezi Jones, who finished the day with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

“I’m just trying to make plays for my teammates and myself,” Jones said. “Attacking the defense, reading the coverage and just playing basketball and having fun out there.”

Despite being the smallest player on the team at 5-foot 10-inches, Jones’ nine rebounds put him second among Quinnipiac players and third overall.

“I’ve always been a small guard,” Jones said. “Coach always harps on me about it … that’s what’s gonna make me stand out in the league from other guards in this league and across the country. Just getting rebounds is gonna help me separate myself from others.”

All six of Jones’ assists came in the first half, with four being received by junior transfer forward Paul Otieno. The junior college transfer finished the game with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.

“We have guys who have multiple skill sets all over the court,” Dunleavey said. “Otieno is the beneficiary of that at times. But more than anything he just gives us energy… defensively rebounding without worrying about if he’s gonna touch it.”

Transferring is not easy for most athletes, but for Otieno, his ability to fill in the role needed is how he’s found success in Hamden.

“The way they play it’s kinda different,” Otieno said. “It kinda fits my style too, the way they play.”

The Bobcats return to action on Friday, Jan. 13, as they take on the St. Peter’s Peacocks in Hamden. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.