Quinnipiac thumps Marist in home finale as MAAC Tournament looms


Thomas Senerchia

It was all Quinnipiac in Hamden Sunday as the Bobcats defeated the Marist Red Foxes 71-52 for their second consecutive victory. It was their final home game of the season.

“It’s the right time of year to be playing well and to prove to each other that we can kind of lock in and do better,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said.

The Bobcats had four players score in double figures with Rich Kelly (17), Aaron Falzon (13), Jacob Rigoni (12) and Kevin Marfo (10) in what was an exceptional three-point shooting day. Marfo added five assists and 16 rebounds to his solid stat line.

Marfo is putting up a historical rebounding season, as he already set the Quinnipiac single-season record and currently leads the nation in rebounds per game.

“As a coach you love players that you know what you’re going to get out of them, and he’s going to give you those rebounds,” Dunleavy said. “The energy and intensity with which he plays is infectious.”

The Bobcats were coming off a last second victory in which they defeated Fairfield off a buzzer beater from Rigoni, and looked to try and gain some momentum with the conference tournament only a few days away. With today’s win, the Bobcats are in reaching distance of the final bye-slot in the standings.

“Basketball’s a game of runs, and it’s really adversity and how you handle that adversity that shapes you to be that team you want be,” Falzon said. “We just try to look at it as a positive and see how we can get better every day.”

Quinnipiac played an overall complete game today, shooting 43 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, 88 percent from the free-throw line and out-assisted the Red Foxes 16-7. The defensive side was just as strong, as they held Marist to 52 points on a dismal 29 percent shooting. The Bobcats also stole the ball seven times.

“I never want to cap us or put a limit on us. I think we can be so much better, but this was a complete game,” Dunleavy said. “I tell our guys if we play our complete game, the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

Marfo ignited the Hamden crowd when he hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with 7:30 left in the first half to increase the Bobcats’ lead to 11. It was the first one of his career.

“I just took the shot. I’ve been working on it every day,” said Marfo. “It was wide open, so I just took it with confidence and went from there.”

While Marfo and his other teammates will return to Hamden next season, it was the last home game for Falzon, a graduate student.

“It’s hard to kind of put it into words when you share a locker room with these guys for eight months. I’ve built a real relationship with guys like Kevin [Marfo] and some of the younger guys. That was my last home college basketball game. I’m just thankful to have my teammates there for me.”

Falzon and the Bobcats cap off the regular season when they visit Iona College in New York on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. With a win and a few outside losses, the Bobcats have a chance to clinch that last bye-slot in the MAAC tournament held in Atlantic City.