Men’s Basketball Drops Home Opener to Hartford

Max Schreiber

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Photo: Liz Flynn

It was a snowy home opener for Quinnipiac, but it was all Hartford (1-3, 0-0 America East) as they held the lead for 37 minutes in their 68-54 win against Quinnipiac (0-2, 0-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).


“Hartford is a better team right now,” Dunleavy said.  “But it is disappointing to play the way we played.  The scoreboard isn’t indicative of the way we play, but tonight it was.”


Starting point guard Rich Kelly is out with an MCL sprain. Kelly was a big part of the Bobcats 2017-2018 season, averaging 11.1 points and 4.7 assists per game.


With Kelly’s absence, the young players had to step up. Freshman Tyrese Williams started and played 35 minutes recording seven points. Freshman Tyree Pickron played over eight minutes, and junior Travis Atson, a first year transfer from Tulsa, started and played 35 minutes, in which he scored 11 points.


“Obviously a disappointing result here,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said.  “A lot of excuses here.  We are young, inexperienced, and missing our point guard.  Kelly is someone who makes everyone better.  Right now we don’t have a player getting guys easy shots and naturally helping our guys be better.”


Grad student Cameron Young has taken on a leadership role this year. Against Hartford he played 36 minutes and lead the team with 17 points.


“I just want to lead the freshman by example,” Young said. “I answer them in practice after having a bad game and if stuff doesn’t go my way in a game I try to bounce back so they can see my leadership.”


Quinnipiac did have 22 points in the paint compared to Hartford’s 18. However, it was the three point shooting that really killed Quinnipiac.  The Bobcats shot 27.6 percent from three-point range, making eight of 29 three point attempts.


When the Bobcats get off rhythm on the offensive side of the ball, they rely heavily on the three pointers.  Williams cut the lead to seven with 13:50 in the second half, but after that the Bobcats would throw up four three pointers in a row and their deficit would increase from seven to 13 in just two minutes.


I thought we came out tentative and not aggressive tonight,” Dunleavy said.


The Bobcats also shot 20-for-58, resulting in a team field goal percentage of 34.5 percent.


“I thought we were getting good open looks.  We just weren’t getting them down,” Young said.


Despite Hartford controlling the lead for 37 minutes of the game and extending the lead to 54-37 at the beginning of the second half, Quinnipiac never gave up.  The Quinnipiac crowed got fired up when Kevin Marfo to cut the lead to seven with 3:25 left to play, but Quinnipiac would never be able gain the lead.


Quinnipiac is starting the season off 0-2, coming off a loss to the defending national champions and current No. 8 Villanova.  Dunleavy said that this is a similar look to last season where Quinnipiac started 1-5. Dunleavy vows Quinnipiac will learn from the early season losses.


“Last year we had some disappointing losses early, but I thought we grew from them. That has to be the plan this year.  It is never promised that you’re just going win games, “Dunleavy said.  “You have to earn things and this team has to learn to do that.”