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Quinnipiac mens basketball vs. Columbia preview

Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn/Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network

By: Ryan Chichester

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team continues its five game road trip in the Big Apple on Monday night when it takes on Columbia, who is just returning from a seven-game road trip of its own to start the season.

The Lions will be looking to use their home floor to end a five-game losing streak, while the Bobcats hope to avoid the start of another losing streak after ending their own stretch of five straight losses with a win over UMass last week.

Columbia is 1-3 against Quinnipiac all-time, but its one win did come last year in Hamden, an 86-78 win behind a defense that held the Bobcats to a 32 percent clip from the field.

After dropping its first game of the road trip to Lafayette on Saturday, Quinnipiac could use a win to avoid a potentially disastrous road trip. Here is what to watch for as the Bobcats face their third Ivy League opponent of the season.

Weary Travelers

The Lions are likely tapping the backs of their Nikes and saying “there’s no place like home” as they return to campus after playing their first seven games of the season on the road. The road trip was especially tough on Columbia in its last three games, losing all three by a combined 12 points, including an overtime loss at UConn.

Expect an energized performance from Columbia, who will be playing in front of its home fans for the first time this season. The Lions are 83-33 all-time in home openers, including wins in seven of their last nine. The Bobcats will need to avoid early trouble and weather what should be a fast start by the Lions, who will look to jump ahead early from the three-point line. Columbia leads the Ivy League with a 36.6 shooting percentage from downtown. Bobcats’ opponents are shooting 38.5 percent from beyond the arc, so getting out to the perimeter on the defensive end will be crucial.

About time for an offensive outburst

The Lions can shoot it from downtown, but they have had all kinds of issues guarding it on the other end. Columbia’s defense is allowing 79.9 points per game so far this season, which ranks 301st in the nation. The last game clearly illustrated their defensive struggles, as the Lions put up 82 points but lost by four. Openings will be there for the Bobcats, it will just be a matter of taking advantage.

Quinnipiac’s shooters will need to be locked and loaded to jump on the Columbia defense, so expect deep threats like the Robinson brothers to continue to see heavier minutes. This could be the type of game we see Isaiah Washington break out as well.

The x-factor could be Chaise Daniels, who came off the bench on Saturday for the first time since his sophomore season. Daniels will look to field the ball inside like always, but a leaky Lions defense could open things up for his shooters, so Daniels doesn’t have to do everything on his own. The senior can try to muscle through a double-team and score inside, or he can kick it back out to his teammates and see if they can take advantage of a defense that surrenders points in bunches.

When those shots by his teammates go up, Daniels will need to find Columbia junior Lukas Meisner, a 6′ 8” forward from Germany who grabbed 11 rebounds in just 16 minutes in Columbia’s last game against Albany. Daniels and Meisner will be a key battle beneath the rim, and Daniels will have to establish position to stay out of foul trouble to guide the Bobcats to their first road win of the season.

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