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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac men’s basketball cruises past Holy Cross with dominant performance

Cameron Levasseur
Senior forward Paul Otieno drives to the rim during the Bobcats’ win over Army on Nov. 17.

WORCESTER, MA — The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team dominated the Holy Cross Crusaders 77-57 Monday night. The Bobcats showcased a balanced offensive effort, and their defensive tenacity played a significant role in limiting Holy Cross on the offensive end. Graduate student forward Matt Balanc, put up 23 points, while graduate student guard Savion Lewis dished out eight assists in the victory. 

Sophomore forward Amarri Tice set the tone early, stealing the ball before throwing down a thunderous dunk on the other end, capping off a 7-0 run by the Bobcats to give the visitors an early 9-6 advantage. 

However, both teams struggled to find their offensive rhythm, combining for just 7-25 shooting from the field in the opening eight minutes. Despite the offensive struggles, Quinnipiac was able to muster a 13-8 lead almost midway through the frame. 

The offenses didn’t get much better from there. The  teams shot a combined 14-42 from the field, as Quinnipiac held a 21-17 lead heading into the media timeout. 

Shortly after, Holy Cross mounted a small comeback and took the lead for the first time since the early minutes of the game when freshman guard A.J. Wills executed a spinning layup, putting the Crusaders in front 24-23. 

The visitors displayed some resilience and responded well, embarking on a 10-0 run to end the half that included a three-pointer by Balanc, who finished the first half with 14 points on 5-10 shooting.

“It all started with our defense,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Pecora said. “If you defend and rebound, we’ll find ways to get buckets. I thought we really increased our defensive intensity and when you do that you get easier baskets.” 

Unlike the first half, the second half opened with an offensive surge from both teams. Quinnipiac opened the frame shooting 4-6 from the field, taking a 45-34 lead into the first media timeout. Balanc continued to find the bucket on the offensive end, quickly surpassing the 20-point mark for the evening. 

“We always talk about dominating the first five minutes of the second half,” Pecora said. “So I thought we did a really good job with that.”

With just under 13 minutes remaining, Quinnipiac held a 51-38 lead. Its  advantage continued to grow, reaching 17 points and ultimately forcing a Crusaders timeout.

Lewis contributed eight assists, facilitating the Bobcats’ impressive offensive display. The dynamic duo of Lewis and senior forward Paul Otieno was a key factor in Quinnipiac’s success in the paint.

“It’s very easy (playing with Balanc and Otieno),” Lewis said. “These guys are very offensively talented, they know where to be at the right time and they make my job a lot easier.”

Quinnipiac utilized its deep bench effectively, with every single active player seeing action, and eight of them contributing points. With 7:52 left on the clock, the Bobcats led 60-44, firmly in control of the game.

“Our bench players have developed more, so I can get them more minutes,” Pecora said. “Allow some of our starters to play fewer, it’s early in the season but you gotta be careful about how many minutes you’re going to log… For us to be the best version of Quinnipiac basketball, we want to play ten guys every night.”

As the game wound down, Quinnipiac poured it on, extending its lead even further. Balanc hit a three-pointer, and Tice — who blocked three shots in the game  — added another monstrous block on the defensive end to push the lead to 70-49.

“We’re just scraping the surface on Amarri Tice,” Pecora said. “The plays he makes in practice some days make you say ‘woah’ and we want to see those come more consistently, but that will come in time, the more he plays, the more minutes he’s playing, the better player he’ll become.”

In the final moments of the game, Pecora emptied the bench, ultimately securing a 77-57 win for the visitors. 

Quinnipiac will continue its road stand Thursday when it squares off with Lafayette in Easton, Pennsylvania, at 2 p.m.

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Cameron Levasseur
Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

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