Quinnipiac Tames the Black Bears With Impressive Win on Saturday


Photo: Alex Bayer

Ethan Hurwitz

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team played a complete game, highlighted by guards Bernie Blunt and Dezi Jones, to knock off the visiting Maine Black Bears 73-47 at the People’s United Center on Saturday.

Both teams came into today riding streaks: Quinnipiac with a two-game winning streak and Maine falling in three straight. Even with redshirt junior guard Savion Lewis out for the season with an Achilles injury, the Bobcats found a way to push their winning streak to three games.

“We are playing for (Savion),” senior guard Tyrese Williams said of his teammate.

Blunt made his first career start for the Bobcats and made an immediate impact, dropping six points in the first five minutes (all from beyond the arc).

The freshman, who hit his career high in both points and rebounds, talked about what it was like to start and succeed in first career game in Hamden.

“It felt really good for my teammates and I,” Blunt said. “I felt like I provided really good offense and defense tonight.”

Off the bench, redshirt junior guard Matt Balanc continued his breakout campaign, adding on to his team-leading 17.0 points per game. Balanc is the only Bobcat to average double digits points per game and is the front runner for the MAAC’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

Maine entered the locker room down 29-27 and did not climb back into the lead, but a positive was sophomore guard Vukasin Masic. The Serbia native stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

In the second, Quinnipiac began to pull away with efficient offensive possessions, including a reverse lay-up by graduate forward Kevin Marfo and a 3-pointer for graduate forward Jacob Rigoni, his first bucket of the game.

Marfo had another outstanding game with a season high 21 points, as well as tacking on 13 rebounds, good for his fifth double-double of the year. In his first season back from Texas A&M, the forward has surpassed 100 rebounds on the season and has been a dominant force in the paint.

The Bobcats led by as much as 25 in the second half and end game stamina was something Head Coach Baker Dunleavy talked to his team about.

“We didn’t make any huge adjustments … you could see a spark defensively in the second half,” Dunleavy said. “Deflections and steals … defensive stops helped us get easy baskets in transition.”

The Bobcats will travel to University Park to face off against the Penn State Nittany Lions on Wednesday, their final non-conference game of the regular season. They jump back into action against a MAAC opponent on New Year’s Eve against Niagara.