Mountaineers erase early 14-point deficit, beat Bobcats 79-75


Photo: Kaylyn Terry

Ryan Johanson

In the second game of the season between the newest member in the MAAC in Mount St. Marys and Quinnipiac, the Mountaineers split the season series with a tight 79-75 win on Sunday afternoon. 

The Mounts joined the MAAC for this sports year from the Northeast Conference where they spent every year since 1989 in. 

With this loss, the Bobcats fell to 17-7 and 8-5 in conference play. With the win, the Mount broke their three-game losing streak as they improved to 8-16 on the year and 4-9 in the conference play. 

“Credit Mount St. Mary,” Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said. “[I] thought they did a great job rebounding the ball, great physicality. They are just a well-coached team and earned a win tonight.” 

The Bobcats came out firing in the first half getting the biggest lead of the game 18-4. Through the first 10 minutes of the first half, the Bobcats shot 58.3% from the field as they held the Mount to around 30% from the field. In the final 10 minutes of the half, the Mount started to claw back as they made it a six-point game going into the second half behind senior guard Jalen Benjamin’s 14 points. 

In the second half, the Mount came out to a 9-0 run in the first three minutes of the half and a 13-4 run in the first five minutes. The Bobcats kept clawing away at the Mount’s lead but they could not catch the Mounts as they scored 49 points and shot 73.1% from the field in the second half behind Jedy Cordilia and Benjamin scoring 22 and 23, respectively. The Bobcats only mustered 39 points on 31.3% from the field. 

“We were getting a lot of defensive stops early and that really did not continue for the rest of the game,” said Dunleavy. “By the end of the game, they shot 58% from the field. I think we held them in the first 10 minutes with just a handful of points so whatever caused that shift defensively is something that we got to fix.”

In the losing effort, Matt Balanc scored a team-high 19 points which got him to 1,000 points in his collegiate career. Balanc becomes the 19th player in school’s division 1 history to reach this milestone. He joins graduate student Tyrese Williams in the 1,000-point club after Williams scored his 1,000th point against Penn State earlier this year on Dec. 22.

“Matt is a guy that brings consistency, toughness, leadership, and all the intangibles that you want as a coach,” Dunleavy said. “He’s a guy that has a lot of scoring, but also has the character and the competitiveness and toughness to be defined by winning and doing things the right way.” 

The Bobcats look to bounce back as they go on the road to face Niagara on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. For the Mounts, they look to extend their winning streak to two games as they return home to face Siena on Friday at 7 p.m.