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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 takes care of Siena on senior day, inches closer to MAAC regular season title

Ethan Hurwitz
Graduate student guard Savion Lewis shoots a free throw in Quinnipiac’s Sunday win over Siena.

HAMDEN — The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team gifted its senior class the best present it could ask for — a win on senior day. The Bobcats took care of Siena Sunday, winning 71-57 as they head into the final week of the regular season with a one-game lead in the MAAC. 

“Every senior day is special,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Pecora said. “It gives you a chance to just thank them in another form … With the world we live in now, every senior has to walk on their senior day and then we’ll see what happens.”

Despite Siena’s subpar record, sitting at just 3-15 in the MAAC after today’s game, Pecora wanted to make sure the Bobcats didn’t overlook their opponent.

“All we’ve ever talked about is one game winning streaks,” Pecora said. “If you look past your next opponent you set yourself up for failure.” 

It certainly looked like Quinnipiac had overlooked Siena in the first half. After taking a 13-point lead, the hosts let off the gas. 

The Saints got the deficit down to just five with eight minutes to play in the first half. Siena used some hot shooting from sophomore guard Mason Courtney and freshman guard Kyle Winters to keep the visitors in it.

However, graduate student guard Matt Balanc got cooking, connecting on a deep triple to bring the Bobcats’ lead back to nine, and his point total up to 14.

Quinnipiac sophomore forward Amarri Tice was perfect in the first frame, scoring 13 points on 5-5 shooting. The Wofford transfer struggled shooting the ball over the last couple of games, but made a concerted effort to get to the rim this afternoon. 

“He carried us for a good stretch,” Pecora said. “(Siena) is susceptible to driving the basketball, so we talked a lot about playing off our shot fakes, forcing them to come out, and then putting it on the deck and going by them … I thought Amarri did a wonderful job.”

George Maddaloni

Similar to earlier in the half, the Saints clawed their way back into the game. A running floater by graduate student guard Savion Lewis put the Bobcats up five to end a lackluster half from the MAAC’s No. 1 team.

Following a riveting tae kwon do performance during the halftime break, Quinnipiac came out guns blazing to start the second.

A thunderous Tice jam capped off an 11-0 sprint from the hosts to put them up 14. The defense was suffocating, as Siena made just two of its first 15 shots in the half.

Freshman forward Michael Ojo was ejected from the game after trying to chase down freshman forward Rihards Vavers, who fell into the stanchion and had to be helped off the floor by a trainer. Vavers would return to the Quinnipiac bench a few minutes later, but the Saints were forced to be without one of their best players for the remainder of the game. 

Lewis put the icing on the cake for the hosts, finding Balanc in transition for a dunk with five minutes remaining. The assist, Lewis’ seventh of the game, also broke Quinnipiac’s single-season assists record. 

“It’s a blessing,” Lewis said. “I want to give all glory to God, and I want to thank my teammates because without them, none of this is possible.”

With the game in hand, Pecora went to his senior bench players to close it out. Although buckets were sparse, the team felt it was important for them to see the floor. 

“They put in work everyday,” Balanc said. “They go hard, they do scouting. They may not always get the most playing time on the court, but they’re invested and they’re bought in. For those dudes to get to play and have their chance, it’s good to watch them succeed.”

The 71-57 victory pushed Quinnipiac’s MAAC record to 13-5. With just two conference games remaining before the postseason, the Bobcats need one more win to clinch a share of the MAAC regular season title for the first time in program history. 

Quinnipiac will play its final home regular season game on Thursday when it hosts Marist. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

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