Pioneers too much for Bobcats to handle in 97-80 loss

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Pioneers too much for Bobcats to handle in 97-80 loss

Jacob Shiffer

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As the People’s United Center celebrated “Star Wars Day,” a basketball team showed that it is still too early in the season for them to have truly harnessed the power of the Force.

In the final game of the Bobcats Invitational, the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team fell to the Sacred Heart University Pioneers 97-80. The Pioneers had six players in double figures and were led by sophomore guard Cameron Parker, who finished with 16 points and 16 assists.

“To have a guy that can not only score but can also set everybody up, and they had six guys in double figures, I think that’s what makes them really tough,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said.

The first half saw the Pioneers consistently beat a Bobcats zone defense that had been a strong point for the past two days. The Pioneers used a balanced attack, scoring 22 points in the paint and adding five three-pointers to end the half with a 43-34 lead. First-year guard Tyler Thomas had seven points off the bench for the Pioneers.

Redshirt-junior forward Kevin Marfo had the standout performance for the Bobcats in the first half with eight points and nine rebounds, including four offensive boards that helped the Bobcats secure eight second-chance points.

“I think he did a really good job of becoming open by setting good screens,” Dunleavy said.

Marfo continued that performance early in the second half, once again using his post skills to rise above Pioneers redshirt-senior center Jare’l Spellman and slam home the first two points of the half. He followed that with an athletic rebound, soaring across the key, leading to a transition basket by sophomore guard Tyrese Williams.

However, those were the only promising plays early in the half for the Bobcats, as the Pioneers went on a 15-0 run to push their lead to 25 points. The Bobcats spent just under six minutes without a bucket and went all but three minutes of the half with just one made three-ball.

“They weren’t met with very much resistance and that’s what we’ve got to change, especially defensively,” Dunleavy said.

After the difficult stretch, the Bobcats outscored the Pioneers 39-31, but it wasn’t enough as the Pioneers cruised to the 17-point victory. Williams finished the game as the Bobcats leading scorer with 22 points on 61% shooting after only scoring three points in the first half.

Quinnipiac finishes the Bobcats Invitational with a 2-1 record. They’ll be off for the next week before they head into a road matchup against the Fairleigh Dickinson University Knights on December 3. They return home on December 7 with another non-conference game, this time against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.

“We’ve got a couple days here for Thanksgiving break to work in practice and get back at it,” Dunleavy said.