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Quinnipiac’s shooting woes allow Saint Peter’s to cruise to victory

Photo courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Tom Cunningham

Not even winter storm Nico could stop the Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team from coming to Hamden and spoiling the Quinnipiac Bobcats’ snow day. The Peacocks’ top-ranked scoring defense in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) was on full display, holding the Bobcats to their lowest point total since 2009.

Saint Peter’s easily took care of Quinnipiac at Lender Court coming away with a dominating 76-45 victory.

“We didn’t have it early. We didn’t have it in the middle of the first half. We didn’t have it at the end of the first half. We didn’t have it in the second half,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. “I haven’t had that feeling since Christmas so it better be an aberration, or we are going to struggle.”

In two games against Saint Peter’s this season, Quinnipiac has scored a total of just 99 points, a testament to the potent defensive attack for Saint Peter’s. Quinnipiac’s shooting woes were apparent early and often as the team shot just 30 percent from the field in the first half, a number that went down to 25 percent in the second half. It was the first time all season that the Bobcats finished the game without a single scorer in double-digits.

“I felt like we didn’t really compete on offense. We were a little sloppy,” junior forward Chaise Daniels said. “If we would mess up on the defensive end, we might try to compensate with offense tonight. That’s not the team to do that against because they play between you and the basket, they want to make you earn every offensive trip.”

Quinnipiac’s freshmen duo of Mikey Dixon and Peter Kiss were held in check all night long. The backcourt tandem combined for just 15 points on a total of 6-for-20 shooting. In January, Saint Peter’s limited them to 5-for-19 shooting for 15 points.

“They are the best half-court man defensive team in the league,” Moore said. “They have really good toughness on the ball. They make every rotation and they really help from one person away very well.”

Statistically, the best defense is paired with the lowest scoring offense. The Peacocks average 66 points per game, but the 76 scored against the Bobcats were due in large part to four players with double-digit point performances including 14 apiece for Quadir Welton, Samuel Idowu, and Trevis Wyche. While the Bobcats struggled on the offensive end, it was the defensive end that Tom Moore and Co. believe needs the most work going forward.

“As good as they were I think we were equally as bad,” Moore said. “You can’t have a night against a good team where the ball’s not going in and you don’t guard with energy in either half.”

“We have to tighten it up on defense. Defense was the key tonight because the ball didn’t go in for us and that hurt us,” Daniels said. “We were making sloppy plays on defense, not communicating. It didn’t look like Quinnipiac basketball and we can’t do that going forward.”

After picking up an impressive victory at Fairfield on Monday, the Bobcats put themselves in a position to hold a top five spot in the MAAC standings with a win over the Peacocks. Daniels knows the Bobcats efforts must improve if the team wants to secure a first-round bye in the MAAC Tournament.

“We got too cool,” Daniels said. “Our work isn’t done yet. Tonight we were fighting to be tied for fifth or for the fifth spot. I don’t know if we thought it was going to be a cakewalk, but that’s not the team to try and do that against.”

Quinnipiac now sits at 7-8 in MAAC play, which puts the team at seventh place in the conference, with five games remaining in the regular season. Quinnipiac will look to get back on track when it travels to Rider on Saturday.

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