Quinnipiac vs. Brown preview: the Bobcats look for a second straight win against an Ivy League opponent

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Ryan Chichester

The Bobcats can enjoy their thrilling 78-77 victory to start the season, but not for too long. Another Ivy League opponent in Brown is coming to Hamden on Monday night, looking to start the season 2-0 themselves.

Both the Bobcats and Bears took home a win in their first game of the season, although both were done in incredibly different fashions. While the Bobcats needed a Chaise Daniels block at the final second to earn their victory, the Bears ran Division-III opponent Johnson & Wales off the floor with a 106-78 laugher at home. The 106 points were the sixth most in Brown basketball history for a team that has been playing for over a century.

Quinnipiac will be a much tougher test for Brown, as the Bears face their first road test and first Division-I foe of the young season. Here’s what you need to know for Monday night’s matchup.

Youth movement

The Bobcats showcased their new-look roster to the home fans on Saturday, while Brown was doing the same on their home floor. The Bears’ starting lineup consisted of three first-year players, two of them freshman, and a pair of sophomores. Freshmen Matt DeWolf and Desmond Cambridge combined for 22 points in their collegiate debuts, while sophomore Brian Anderson led the team with a career-high 21 points on Saturday.

Both teams look entirely different from last season’s rosters, and this game could come down to which youngsters show the most poise and cut down on the mistakes. The Bobcats committed 15 turnovers against Dartmouth on Saturday, a number that has to decrease as the season goes on. The Bobcats also were able to experience a tight game down the stretch which helps fill the experience column for Baker Dunleavy’s youngsters, while Brown was coasting to an easy win and emptying the bench.

Free throw line to be a major factor

Both teams might as well have pitched a tent at the free throw line in their victories on Saturday. The Bobcats got to the line 24 times and made big foul shots down the stretch to protect their narrow lead. Meanwhile, the Bears made 35 out of their 40 free throw attempts, with Anderson hitting 16 of them on 17 attempts.

Brown committed 25 fouls of their own on Saturday, and with Daniels roaming the paint for the Bobcats, the Bears will have to find a way to slow Daniels down without getting into foul trouble. The Bobcats will have to express a similar discipline and keep a Bears team off the free throw line that attacks the rim with intent on drawing a whistle.

“This is a brand-new team with an emphasis on getting to the free throw line by putting pressure on the defense.” Bears head coach Mike Martin said after Saturday’s win.

Martin and the Browns have always prided themselves in their free throw shooting ability, which was evident last season when they shot 75.9 percent from the three throw line, the best mark in the Ivy League.

Whichever crop of youngsters stay poised and on their feet can be the difference in this game, as both squads will look to keep their opponents away from the charity stripe.

Beyond the arc

You wouldn’t know it from their 106-point performance, but the Bears struggled mightily from the three-point line on Saturday, which they were able to mask with frequent trips to the free throw line and an inferior opponent. Their 22.6 percent clip from downtown was an uncharacteristic stat line for a team that shot 36.7 percent last season, second most in the Ivy League. Again, this is a very different roster from last season.

Meanwhile, the Bobcats shot 40 percent from three in their win against Dartmouth, helped by three triples from Isaiah Washington early in the first half. If Daniels can cause trouble inside and draw the defense into the paint, he may find open shooters like Washington, Jacob Rigoni or the Robinson brothers ready to pull the trigger from outside.

On the other end, the Bobcats were one of the worst three-point defending teams in the MAAC last season, but stepped up against Dartmouth, who made just seven of their 31 three-point attempts. If that trend continues into Monday, Dunleavy and the Bobcats will have a great chance to open the season with two straight home wins against Ivy League opponents.

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