Quinnipiac beats Marist, clinches No. 3 seed in MAAC tournament


Peyton McKenzie

Junior guard Dezi Jones and redshirt senior guard Matt Balanc both scored 21 points for the Bobcats in the win.

Zack Hochberg, Staff Writer

With the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MAAC tournament on the line Saturday night, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team defeated Marist 88-76. 

Entering the day, Quinnipiac needed some help to secure that third seed, and it got it. Saint Peter’s upset Siena in overtime, Mount St. Mary’s knocked off Manhattan and then Canisius defeated Niagara, giving the Bobcats control over their destiny. 

Junior guard Dezi Jones and redshirt senior guard Matt Balanc combined for 41 points, as the Bobcats notched their 20th win of the season for the fourth time in the school’s Division I history. 

Marist kept themselves in the game for the first ten minutes, junior guard Kam Farris and redshirt senior center Patrick Gardner made plays on both sides of the ball. However, an 11-0 Bobcats’ run capped off by a Jones bucket gave Quinnipiac a 31-21 lead at the under-eight media timeout. 

The hosts tried to fight back, but Quinnipiac matched them every step of the way before exploding for another run to bring its lead to 19 with 30 seconds to play in the first half. 

Quinnipiac’s pace of play was simply too much for the Red Foxes, as the Bobcats were able to move the ball with ease for quick buckets to extend their lead. While Marist shot the ball well, shooting 43% from the field and 50% from three, it was no match for Quinnipiac, which knocked down 13 threes, good for second-most, nine of which came in the first half. 

Bobcat big men dominated the paint in the first half, outscoring the Red Foxes 20-10 in the paint through the first 20 minutes, along with 14 second-chance points. 

Freshman forward Jaden Daughtry struck back for the Red Foxes, knocking down a three in the ensuing possession to give Marist a bit of momentum heading into the halftime break. 

The Red Foxes used that momentum to go on a run out of halftime, pulling within 10 just four minutes into the second frame. 

Quinnipiac, a team that has been prone to second-half collapses this season, wasn’t going to let that happen on Saturday night with the No. 3 seed at stake.  The visitors were able to go on another run to push their lead back to 16 with 13 minutes to play. 

Once again, however, Marsit fought back, slimming the Bobcats’ advantage down to nine before they extended it one final time. That final push by Marist was all they had in the tank, as the Bobcats were able to wrap up their regular season with a road victory. 

With its clinch of the No. 3 seed, Quinnipiac will now turn its attention to the MAAC tournament, where it will play the winner of No. 6 Manhattan and No. 11 Marist at 7 p.m. on March 9 in the conference quarterfinals.