Men’s Basketball Uses Stellar First Half to Get Win over Marist


Photos: Kaylyn Terry

Brandon Murdock

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team defeated the Marist Red Foxes 94-87 on Friday evening at the People’s United Center.  

The Bobcats started off strong on both sides of the ball, forcing four turnovers on the first four Red Foxes possessions, and hitting their first four threes of the game. They held the Red Foxes to just eight points at the first media timeout. 

The first half was widely dominated by the Bobcats, led by sophomore forward Tymu Chenery’s 12 points, as they shot 64.7% from the field and 60% from three-point range.  

The Red Foxes struggled to figure out the 2-3 zone, as they shot just 41.4% from the field and had 11 turnovers, resulting in a 56-35 halftime deficit. 

The first half performance by the Bobcats was much to the praise of head coach Baker Dunleavy. 

“I thought we obviously had our best offensive first half of the game maybe in years,” Dunleavy said. “It wasn’t just making shots, it was the way we played, the way we shared the ball.” 

Two and a half minutes into the second half, it looked like it would be more of the same from the Bobcats as they took a commanding 23-point lead, 65-42, into the media timeout.  

This, however, was when the Red Foxes got going. 

The Red Foxes went on a 11-0 run out of the break, fueled by three straight three pointers, and cut the lead down to 12, 65-53. They continued to claw away at the Bobcat lead by giving them a taste of their own medicine, forcing turnovers, and shooting the ball well from three. 

The Bobcat lead was eventually cut all the way down to one, before junior guard Matt Balanc hit back-to-back threes to extend the lead for good. Balanc finished the game with 20 points and three rebounds in only his fifth start of the season. 

Graduate forward Kevin Marfo, who finished the game with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, finished off the game with late free throws, keeping the game out of reach. Marfo did more than just fill up the stat sheet however, as he also served as a leader for this team. 

“Basketball is a very emotional game,” Marfo said. “I’m locked in, I want this really bad, I really want to win. Sometimes people confuse that as too emotional, but it’s controlled.” 

Despite a dominating first half, the Bobcats were still given a scare by their MAAC conference rival. 

“We fell into a trap of trying to outscore them, and that can’t be what it is,” Dunleavy said. “We have to keep that identity going the whole game.” 

In the loss, the Red Foxes were led by freshman guard Noah Harris, who had a game-high 24 points on 7 of 10 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Harris added four rebounds as well. Freshman guard Jao Ituka put up 14 points, four rebounds and three assists on Friday for Marist as well. 

Marfo and Balanc led the way for the Bobcats, but they also got key contributions from fellow starter and sophomore guard Dezi Jones, who had 13 points to go along with six assists. Junior guard Brendan McGuire came off the bench and scored nine points and had four rebounds. 

The Bobcats, who never trailed in this game, ended their four game homestand, winning three out of the four games and were able to build momentum going into their short road trip. 

“It’s important we’re supposed to protect our home,” Marfo said. “We have the most comfortability here.” 

Turnovers were a big reason for the Bobcats’ success in this one. They forced 15 turnovers from the Red Foxes, matched with only giving away the ball seven times. The Bobcats were able to produce 22 points off turnovers and got 12 fast break points on top of that. 

The Bobcats were able to halt the Red Foxes’ late second half run by making key plays such as getting second chance points, moving the ball, and getting timely baskets and defensive stops. 

Up next for the Bobcats is the first of back-to-back road games, the first one being against the Siena Saints, a team that is currently in fifth in the MAAC standings, right behind the fourth place Bobcats. The Bobcats will look to stay in front of Siena in the MAAC standings at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30 in Loudonville, New York.