A tale of two halves: Bobcats need only 58 points to take down Saint Peter’s


Daniel Passapera

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak to the defending MAAC champion Saint Peter’s Peacocks on Saturday.

Zachary Carter, Staff Writer

After pouring on 81 points on Jan. 8 to take down the Iona Gaels, Quinnipiac men’s basketball scored just 58 points Friday night to overcome defending MAAC champion Saint Peter’s Peacocks, winning 58-51. 

The first half was one to forget for the Bobcats, who scored just 22 points in the game’s first 20 minutes. Quinnipiac shot 9-27 from the field, including an abysmal 2-12 from the three-point line. 

To compensate for its shots not falling from outside the arc, Quinnipiac let its big men work from within. 14 of Quinnipiac’s 22 points in the first half came from inside the paint, including four points each from junior forward JJ Riggins and graduate student forward Ike Nweke. 

Not to be outshined was junior forward Paul Otieno, who led the Bobcats in scoring in the first half with six points of his own. 

Despite not leading at any point in the half, Quinnipiac did not dig itself too deep of a hole to climb out of. 

Saint Peter’s struggles paralleled those of the Bobcats’. The Peacocks committed 10 turnovers and 11 fouls in just the opening 20 minutes, proving unable to get out of their own way on the court. At halftime, the visitors managed just 23 points, leading Quinnipiac by one. 

In sloppy, gritty games like this one, the winner is always decided by whichever team tends to adjust during halftime and figure it out first. Tonight, it was the Bobcats.

Slowly but surely, Quinnipiac’s offense sputtered to life. The Bobcats fired off 18 points in the first eight minutes of the second half, with Saint Peter’s mustering only five. Otieno and Nweke continued to overpower the Peacocks’ defense down low, with both players finishing the game in double figures. 

The Bobcats also started to click from deep, with sophomore forward Alexis Reyes and graduate student guard Tyrese Williams both knocking in a pair of triples to bolster Quinnipiac’s lead in the second half.

As the two teams went back and forth down the stretch, it was senior guard Jayden Saddler who hit a big transition three to bring the Peacocks back within four points.

After a period of knocking right at Quinnipiac’s doorstep, the Peacocks were unable to claim the lead as the Bobcats never let their score slip past two possessions. Senior guard Matt Balanc buried two crucial free throws late to secure the 58-51 win. 

Otieno stepped up for the Bobcats tonight – not just in the scoring department, but in the rebounding column as well. He dropped 12 points and grabbed 10 boards to secure his third double-double of the season. Nweke and Balanc each added 10 points of their own. 

Balanc’s personal struggles against Saint Peter’s continued. Despite scoring 10 points, he was only able to capitalize from the free-throw line (10-12 FT). He shot 0-7 from the field, combined with an 0-6 effort in his last game against the Peacocks on Dec. 18, making him go both matchups against Saint Peter’s without a field goal this season. 

With the win today, Quinnipiac snaps a streak of five straight losses to Saint Peter’s, dating back to last season. In addition, the Bobcats extended their current winning streak to four games, one that they will look to defend in their next matchup at Mount St. Mary’s this Sunday at 2 p.m.