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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Men’s basketball makes program history in 68-point wash over Coast Guard

Peyton McKenzie
Junior guard Doug Young drives to the rim during Quinnipiac’s 116-48 win over Coast Guard on Nov. 6, 2023.

HAMDEN, Conn — It was never close. Maybe for a three-minute span in the first half, but the Quinnipiac men’s basketball program demolished Division III Coast Guard 116-48 Monday night. The 68-point win was the largest by a Bobcats team in school history and gave new head coach Tom Pecora his first win as the head man of this program.

“How could you not be pleased about it?” Pecora said. “We were able to get that lead and protect (the veterans) a little bit … then down the end, get some of the young guys minutes.”

The win, which also set the Quinnipiac record for most points scored in a Division I game, saw 12 players record a basket, including some underclassmen making their Bobcat debuts.

Sophomore forward Amarri Tice — who transferred from Wofford this spring — seemed to lead that charge. He gave the Bobcats the length to spread the floor and the size to get up, highlighted by an emphatic dunk early in the first half. He totaled 11 points and seven rebounds in the starting effort.

“He’s a beast, man,” Pecora said. “He’s just big. He’s strong … He’s unselfish to a fault at times.”

On the offensive end, graduate student guard Matt Balanc continued his terrific career in Hamden. He led the Bobcats with 20 points, with five from beyond the arc. Though he and most of the veterans sat at halftime, the vocal leadership from the bench was evident.

“Our leadership tonight was very good, (graduate student guard) Savion (Lewis) was tremendous,” Pecora said. “Matt obviously came out and did the things he does best, played with great, great energy. And (senior forward) Paul (Otieno) is a transformer … He’s big, he’s strong and he just runs and runs and runs.”

The defense was suffocating the visiting Bears, forcing them into two shot clock violations and a number of rushed shots along the perimeter. Freshman forward Rihards Vavers had a big role in that with six defensive boards, and tacking on 15 points in his performance.

“It’s a great feeling, I was just biting my nails to get out there last season,” Vavers said. “Now it’s finally (come), so I’m glad that I had that opportunity.”

Pecora spread his bench thin, all 12 healthy players getting minutes in the season opener. The depth, something he spoke heavily of in his preseason media availability, was on display against a team that allowed the Bobcats to dish out the playing time. 

“It was good … I’m happy,” junior guard Doug Young said. “When everybody’s playing well, everybody eats.”

The immediate thing that stood out was the free throw shooting. At times last season, the Bobcats ranked in the bottom 10 in the country at the stripe. On Monday, they shot 25 for 30 from the line. A small sample size, but significant in its own right.

“They’re working at it, they have to shoot 100 a day (in practice),” Pecora said. “Generally good shooters are going to be good free throw shooters.”

Quinnipiac closed the first half with Young drilling back-to-back threes, including a buzzer beater to cap off a 7-0 run for the hosts. The Midland College transfer finished with 15 points in the game — tied for second-most on the day.

The 39-point lead at halftime (which would later balloon to 63 in the second half) just showcased the differences between a Division I and a Division III program. The Bobcats’ speed and toughness just outmatched the Bears for all 40 minutes. Big men were drilling long-range threes, guards were boxing out players twice their size and the Bobcats now begin the season in the win column.

Even players on the backend of the bench, like redshirt senior forward JJ Riggins (who’s coming off offseason shoulder surgery), senior guard Nicholas Margetson and freshman guard Khaden Bennett, all got valuable minutes late in the game. 

Tonight was also a special milestone for Pecora, as the coach recorded his 200th career Division I victory on the sideline.

“It’s wonderful, I’m thrilled,” Pecora said. “I’ve been very lucky to do this for a long, long time. I’ve been blessed … hopefully a lot more (to) come.”

Following Monday’s historic victory, the Bobcats now have three days off before facing off against in-state rival CCSU on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.  

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About the Contributors
Ethan Hurwitz
Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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