Bobcats struggle defensively, get swept by Canisius


Photo: QBSN

Sergio De La Espriella

It wasn’t an ideal Saturday afternoon for the Quinnipiac Bobcats (5-9, 3-7 MAAC) as they fell to the Canisius Golden Griffins (5-3, 5-3 MAAC) by a score of 89-70.

The Bobcats started strong, playing very well inside the paint and holding on to a 21-20 lead with 9:45 left in the first half.

That would be the last time the Bobcats would lead.

Typically known for its defensive play, Quinnipiac struggled against Canisius from the midway point of the first half through the end of the game, something that Coach Baker Dunleavy recognized went beyond today’s game at the People’s United Center.

“We just haven’t been ourselves over the last 60 minutes of basketball,” Dunleavy said.

Defense wasn’t the only problem the Bobcats faced against Canisius. The Bobcats went 5-17 from three-point range and were outrebounded 39-26.

They also turned the ball over 11 times and allowed the Golden Griffins bench to soar as they were responsible for 48 of Canisius’ 89 points. The Bobcats had 22 bench points.

“It’s a tough way to respond. We’ve got a long string of games coming up and not a lot of practice,” Dunleavy said. “We’ve got a lot of improvement to make. We have a higher ceiling as a team that we’ve yet to reach yet.”

“We have to keep trying to get more consistency,” Dunleavy continued. “We would like a balance of both [offense and defense].”

Despite a less than ideal outing for the Bobcats, they are hopeful that they can still turn the season around.

“We have to have a non-quit mentality. We have to keep going,” redshirt sophomore Savion Lewis said. Lewis had a promising outing with 15 points on 7-12 shooting in 24 minutes of play.

This was refreshing to see since Lewis is known to put in the work to improve his offensive play.

“It was a weakness I had in my first few years here,” Lewis said. “It was hard adjusting on offense without shooting. Just have to put some extra reps in.”

The Bobcats have eight games left on their MAAC regular-season schedule, barring any postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19.

The team will need to turn to players like Lewis and senior Jacob Rigoni in order to finish the season strong heading into the conference tournament.

“Jake Rigoni is playing like a senior,” Dunleavy said. “His presence and leadership is something we need at all times.”

That leadership will hopefully translate into improvements on both sides of the ball.

“It’s just us. We put a lot of emphasis on defense,” Lewis said. “Fatigue plays a factor, both mentally and physically. It all about how we respond on the other end.”

The Bobcats return to the People’s United Center on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. to take on the Iona Gaels.