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Quinnipiac vs. Brown: What we learned

Photo courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Ryan Chichester

The early euphoria of the Bobcats’ thrilling win over Dartmouth on Saturday was short lived after the team crashed back down to earth on Monday night, falling 79-72 to Brown thanks to a barrage of turnovers in the first half and a brutal night at the free throw line.

After a quick string of two games in three days to open the season, the Bobcats will decompress and recover for a few days before heading down to Virginia to face Colorado in the first round of the “Not-Quite” Paradise Jam tournament (which was originally supposed to take place in the Virgin Islands, but has been moved to Liberty University due to hurricane damage).

While the Bobcats prepare for another busy weekend, here’s what we learned from Monday night’s loss.

The best things in life aren’t always free

Just ask the Bobcats’ free throw shooters, who converted on just 13 of their 27 free throw attempts for a team percentage of 48.1 percent.

“It’s frustrating,” head coach Baker Dunleavy said after the game. “Just now looking at the final box, I didn’t realize the numbers were that staggering.”

They were staggering to say the least. The Bobcats missed seven of their 12 free throws in the second half, which would have been the difference after an inspired comeback had cut the Brown lead to six with under two minutes remaining.

Brown is known for their free throw shooting, having taken 40 foul shots in their opening win against Johnson & Wales, and led the Ivy League in free throw percentage (75.9 percent) and free throw attempts per game (24.6) last season. After a tough first half, the Bobcats held the Bears to just eight free throw attempts in the second half, and the Bears finished the game with a modest 70.4 percent from the foul line. The Bobcats slowed down the focus of Brown’s attack, but forgot to cash in themselves at the other end when it came time for their own free throws.

With discomfort comes growth

This is a young and inexperienced team, plain and simple. Games like Monday night are going to happen. Dunleavy has a freshman point guard, a senior transfer playing his first games as a Bobcat, and a first-year starter in his starting lineup. A well-oiled machine cannot be expected this early in the season.

Still, progress can be seen if you squint a little. Five turnovers from Rich Kelly isn’t a pretty sight on the stat sheet, but four of them came in an ugly first half. The freshman was able to collect himself during the second half, where he committed just one turnover and drilled a big three-pointer during the Bobcats’ comeback attempt. For a position as demanding as point guard, Dunleavy can already see the progress.

“It’s a tough position to be in, for a young guy at that position,” Dunleavy said. “I think he’s doing a good job. He’ll learn from this.”

Kelly showed signs of learning on the fly in the second half and improving ball security against a stingy Brown defense. He ended his night with eight assists and shot 50 percent from the field. It was a tale of two halves for Kelly, which comes with the territory of playing 30 minutes per game as a freshman.

Let my Cameron go

A major positive to be taken from Quinnipiac’s first loss of the season was the play from senior Cameron Young. Now a fixture in the starting lineup after playing just eight minutes last season, Young found his way on the offensive end against Brown, attacking the rim and using his strength to open up more high-percentage shots for himself. It paid off in the form of 15 points on 50 percent shooting, while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds.

“I was just being more aggressive,” Young said of his performance. “I feel like I was struggling last game trying to make a lot of jump shots, so I tried to ease my way into this game and use my ability.”

Young also added four assists and was one of the most reliable Bobcats on the offensive end. At 6’6’’, Young is a guard who can play like a forward at times in the post, and could help relieve double teams on Chaise Daniels as the season moves along if he continues to produce like he did on Monday night.

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