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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Savion Lewis’ record-breaking night propels men’s basketball to 10th-straight win

Graduate+guard+Savion+Lewis+looks+to+pass+during+the+Bobcats+win+over+Saint+Peters+on+Feb.+8.
Jack Spiegel
Graduate guard Savion Lewis looks to pass during the Bobcats’ win over Saint Peter’s on Feb. 8.

HAMDEN — Graduate guard Savion Lewis would like to forget December 2021 after tearing his Achilles tendon against Manhattan. Two years later, Lewis is second in the nation in assists per game and had one record on his mind. On Thursday night, Lewis became the all-time single-season Quinnipiac men’s basketball Division I assist leader in the Bobcats’ 84-73 win over Saint Peter’s. 

“During that time, there was no seeing into the future,” Lewis said. “I just had to walk by faith and just believe that God had bigger plans for me.” 

Quinnipiac didn’t allow the Peacocks to spoil Lewis’ record-breaking night. The Bobcats —- now winners of 10 straight and 19 overall —- aren’t looking ahead of themselves and taking it game by game. 

“It’s been a one-game winning streak,” senior forward Paul Otieno said. “One game at a time because we want to go on to the next game. It’s one game, next game.

Coming into the game, Lewis needed five assists to break the Division I program record of 170, set by Rob Monroe (‘05). Lewis got all five before the end of the first half, finishing with eight on the night. Now Lewis has his eyes on the all-time mark, sitting at 211 assists by Mike Buscetto. 

“It’s pretty cool,” Lewis said. “It’s a blessing. I’m grateful for it, but I’m just trying to win the whole thing. That’s my main goal.”

 With Otieno and four other Bobcats in double figures, including graduate guard Matt Balanc – who only played four minutes in the first half after dealing with foul trouble – showed the Bobcats’ balanced attack.

“Having balance is a powerful thing because on a night like this in the first half not playing Matt. You lose a ton of firepower,” head coach Tom Pecora said. “ It’s about just them understanding how to score. 

Players like Otieno and freshman forward Rihards Vavers picked up the slack, both scoring 11 points in the first half to cement a 17-point lead after 20 minutes.  

Vavers, while coming off the bench, finished with 18 points in 23 minutes. That equaled his season high that he set on Nov. 10 against CCSU.  

“So it’s tough (as a defender) to get into any kind of space to get a contested shot,” Pecora said. “(Vavers) could get it off and the fact that he can, he could do it from two steps beyond the three-point line makes him even more of a difficult closeout.”

The second half told a different story as the 21-point lead fell to as low as nine. For Pecora, he trusted his players to face adversity that the Peacocks were giving them.

“I thought it was important for us to kind of grow as a team and see if we could weather the storm because it can become a point of reference for me as we move forward,” Pecora said.

Quinnipiac’s defense is what showed up toward the end of the game. After shooting 53.8% from three in the first half, the Bobcats were able to minimize that part of the Peacocks’ game, with the visitors only shooting 20% from beyond the arc in the second half.

With a mixture of late free throws by Vavers, Balanc and sophomore forward Amarri Tice, the Bobcats clinched their 10th win in a row.

The Bobcats will travel to Emmitsburg, Maryland, to face off against Mount St. Mary’s in their second meeting of the season on Saturday. For Balanc, it’s another opportunity to show the grit the Bobcats have.

 “These other teams don’t understand what this means to us,” Balanc said.“I think that’s what makes us different.”

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