Bobcats continue slide, drop fourth straight


Photo: Liz Flynn

Jason Hirsch

Despite continuing to struggle as a unit offensively, the Quinnipiac Bobcats found themselves within striking distance throughout the majority of Friday’s 59-56 loss at the People’s United Center against the Niagara Purple Eagles. 

It seems like the trend of close losses have continued to plague the Bobcats throughout much of this unique college basketball season so far. If nothing else, coach Baker Dunleavy sees these games as a good learning experience for his young roster. 

“Obviously, [we are learning] the importance of execution on both ends and being on both ends where you are expected to be,” Dunleavy said. “If you’re in a press, do your job. If you’re in a play call, do your job. It’s something that we do a lot in practice, and I thought it actually helped us get back into this game tonight.”

While the Bobcats did well to limit their turnovers, poor rebounding really doomed the Bobcats from the opening tip. 

Coming into the game, the Purple Eagles found themselves averaging just over 31 rebounds per game, the worst average amongst all 11 teams in the MAAC. 

Against the Bobcats on Friday, the Purple Eagles collected 47 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass. 

On the flip side, the Bobcats came in leading the MAAC with 39 rebounds per game but ended up collecting just short of those numbers, picking up 38 rebounds for the contest. 

Offensively, the Bobcats’ scoring struggles are continuing to show themselves. Coming into today the Bobcats found themselves shooting 29% from three-point range, good for 10th in the MAAC, but ended up shooting just 6-for-29 from three, a 20.7% clip. 

The Bobcats as a team shot just 31.7% overall from the field, well below the 40% shooting they came in averaging. 

Perhaps the most aggravating part of today’s contest for Dunleavy’s team is the fact that once again, the Bobcats let their opponent control the tempo of play for a majority of the game. 

Heading into Friday’s contest, the Bobcats found themselves ranked at 117th in adjusted tempo per 40 minutes according to the KenPom rankings. The Purple Eagles meanwhile entered today 319th out of 357 qualified teams in adjusted tempo per 40 minutes. 

On top of that, the Bobcats are just 333rd out of 357 teams in adjusted offense per 40 minutes, allowing the Purple Eagles to slow the game down to a rhythm of their liking while limiting the number of possessions for an already struggling offense in Quinnipiac. 

“They did a good job defensively. They changed up their looks which had us guessing a little bit,” Dunleavy said. “We had a lot of really good looks that we missed, but also credit them [Niagara]. Their size and length really bothered us on some of our shots.” 

These two teams will run it back on Saturday in Hamden, with Quinnipiac looking to break its four-game skid.