Rigoni’s big day paces Bobcats in 80-64 victory over Broncs


Photos: Liz Flynn

Jason Hirsch

Behind a barrage of big performances by Jacob Rigoni, Tymu Chenery and Luis Kortright, the Quinnipiac Bobcats (7-9, 5-7) won their second consecutive game 80-64 on Saturday vs. the Rider Broncs (4-12, 4-9) at the People’s United Center. 

Entering Saturday’s contest, the Broncs were the worst three-point shooting defense in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, letting opponents shoot 36.9 percent from distance against them – a stat that the Bobcats clearly were very familiar with. 

The Bobcats attempted 17 three-point field goals in the first half alone, and 30 overall for the game. On the season, the Bobcats have been averaging 21 three-point field goal attempts per game. In addition, the first five field goals made today by the Bobcats were all three-pointers. The Bobcats did not hit their first two-point field goal attempt until the 11:03 mark left in the first half on a driving layup by Chenery. 

If you want to win consistently in basketball at any level, being able to take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses plays a huge role. Coach Baker Dunleavy stressed the importance of taking threes against the Broncs to his team.

“We have to have the mentality of taking good shots when we’re open,” Dunleavy said. “If we pass up open looks from three, then we could be in trouble of turning the ball over or forcing a bad shot attempt later in the possession.” 

The Bobcats meanwhile, entered today’s game giving up 39 rebounds per game, the most of any team in the MAAC. Against the Broncs, the Bobcats held their opponents to just 34 rebounds. While Rider averages just 33 rebounds per game this season, the Bobcats did a very good job to not let the Broncs improve those averages. 

Rigoni in particular played a huge role in the rebounding department, finishing with a season-high 15 cleanups off the glass to go along with his 18 points today. With the Broncos struggling to control the glass this season, Rigoni said that the coaches have put an extra emphasis in practice on how important it is to be a physical team and control the rebounding numbers consistently.

“It’s been a big focus for us [after] Canisius did some damage to us with [rebounding],” Rigoni said. “They got a lot of second-chance points against us, so going into every game it is important that we continue to tag our man and make contact, and get into the habit of doing that every possession rather than just chasing the ball and making it a jumping contest.” 

The Bobcats and the Broncs will face off again tomorrow in the second game of their weekend slate in Hamden.