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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac basketball hopes to create ‘important’ rivalry with Yale

Nicholas Pestritto
Graduate guard, Matt Balanc, drives and jumps toward the rim during a game against Yale on Dec. 11, 2023, at M&T Bank Arena.

HAMDEN — Monday night was more than just a regular game for the Quinnipiac and Yale men’s basketball programs. Yes, it was a non-conference battle between two schools that won’t see each other this season again, but it represented more than just a game.

For only the first time since 2014, the Bobcats and Bulldogs faced off in what was a feisty, high-energy 73-66 win for visiting Yale. Despite the loss, Quinnipiac hopes to have this be the beginning of something special.

“I think it’s a really important game to be played all the time,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Pecora said postgame. “We’ll go down there (next year) … I think it’s a game that needs to be played for the community, for Connecticut basketball.”

It’s well noted the bad blood between Quinnipiac and Yale on the ice — the hockey rivals have matched up 43 times. But the hardwood? It’s only happened five times since 2009 before Monday’s matchup. 

“If we can figure something out,” Pecora said. “I think it would be great for basketball in this area, for young kids especially.”

It was a physical game, both sides combining for 32 personal fouls. The hockey rivalry clearly bled over to the basketball teams. Even sophomore forward Amarri Tice — who is in his first season as a Bobcat — knew this one was important. 

“I’m kind of new here, but I’ve heard that Yale’s the school … that’s kind of our rival,” Tice said Friday.

In the first half, tough defending led to Yale senior forward Matt Knowling having his arm halfway through the jersey sleeve of Quinnipiac graduate guard Matt Balanc. Pecora and the entire Bobcats bench erupted, furious about the non-call.

Later in the game, following a missed poster dunk by Balanc, Bulldogs senior guard August Mahoney and Bobcats junior guard Doug Young got into a shoving match that created some chaos for those in the stands.

“I missed the whole thing,” Pecora said. “When I turned back, they were separating people, so I really don’t even know what happened.”

“I thought it was a hard-fought game, I don’t think it was dirty on any level,” Pecora added. “I think that adds to this (rivalry). When the teams are right down the block … it’s good for Quinnipiac basketball (and) good for Yale basketball.”

Despite this game being scheduled during finals week at Quinnipiac, the crowd atmosphere was important for Pecora. He hopes that this can be the launching pad for a yearly head-to-head matchup for seasons to come.

“(I’m) hoping that (this) maybe could become something that’s played on the first Saturday night of December every year,” Pecora said Friday. “Make it a big event for this area to kick off the college basketball season.”

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Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

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