Quinnipiac falls in MAAC Opener

Gage Kilborne

  The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team took on the Niagara Purple Eagles to begin MAAC play this past Sunday and it was the purple eagles who spoiled the fun in Hamden, winning 64-60.

         Early on, it was a very physical game, especially in the paint where the defense for both sides reigned supreme. After the two reached the first media timeout, the score was seven to five in favor of Quinnipiac. The offense didn’t let plays open up until late in the first half when Niagara went on a 6-2 run to close out the first half with the four-point lead, 29-25.

          As they entered the second half, it became came clear who was ready to play, Noah Thomasson. Thomasson started the game with eight points as the Bobcat’s defense did a great job covering him in the first half. However, the second half was the exact opposite as Thomasson found open looks to cash in 16 points in the second half.

         The second-half explosion of Thomasson plus Aaron Gray helped spark an electric offensive performance for Niagara. The main issue for Quinnipiac that helped Niagara win the game has been their achilleas’ heel so far this season, the charity stripe. Quinnipiac shot a measly six-for-15 from the charity stripe which included missing two key free throws late in the game when they were down by two. 

         The team has constantly struggled at the free throw line regardless of who is at the line. On the season the team has shot 59% from the charity stripe which is something that the team is looking to fix before they hit the heart of their MAAC season.

         Following the game head coach, Baker Dunleavy talked about the struggles with defending Noah Thomasson. 

         “We tried to attack, but he had a great poise and did a great job through it,” said Dunleavy. “I thought we could have done better defensively.” 

         The Niagara Purple Eagles came into the regular season after finishing last in the preseason poll in the MAAC. However, this team was overlooked many times since they previously kept a close game with St. John’s earlier this season with a solid guard in Noah Thomasson. 

         The Bobcats will look to improve their record to 8-2 on the young season as they take on the Holy Cross Crusaders (3-6), this Wednesday in Worcester, Massachusetts.