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Quinnipiac vs. Hartford: A thorough Star Wars recap

Photo Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Ryan Chichester


It was Star Wars Night in Hartford on Thursday, so let’s take advantage with this fitting recap.

NOTE: Quotes used in this recap are for entertainment purposes only. They were not spoken by the players and coaches, rather from the mind of the great George Lucas.

 

The force was strong with Cameron Young on Thursday night, but not with the rest of the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team.

Hartford erased a late deficit to win a thrilling 77-75 victory over Quinnipiac on Star Wars Night at Chase Arena, despite a career-high 27 points and 10 rebounds from Young.

The Bobcats were in a position to win consecutive games for the first time all season, but Hartford’s John Carroll, showing unlimited power, scored four straight points for the Hawks after being kept in check by an effective Bobcats defense for the majority of the game.

“You can’t completely stop (Carroll) for 40 minutes,” Baker Dunleavy said after the game. “Just like you can’t stop the suns from setting.”

Trailing by three with 30 seconds left, Jason Dunne scored a driving layup and the Hawks defense quickly set up in a full-court press for the inbounds pass.

“It’s a trap!” Young screamed from the baseline, but his teammates couldn’t break Hartford’s defenses, and the Hawks forced a five second violation. On the ensuing inbound, Hartford went for a corner three that bounced off the far rim, but Carroll was there for the putback, and was fouled on the shot.

“Great shot kid, that was one in a million!” Hartford head coach John Gallagher cheered from the bench.

Carroll finished the three-point play to give the Hawks the lead, which they would extend to three on a pair of free throws by Carroll on their next possession.

Quinnipiac’s last hope was a tightly-contested three from Isaiah Washington from the top of the key as time expired, but it missed left. The Bobcats’ hopes of a second straight win had been destroyed like it was the planet Alderaan.

After a dynamic shooting performance on Monday night where Dunleavy’s Bobcats shot 17-for-34 from beyond the arc, the team shot 7-for-30 on Thursday, going cold from deep as if they were shooting from the Hoth system.

Hartford used an early 10-3 run to jump out to a 16-9 lead thanks to a hot start from Travi Weatherington, who hit a pair of threes and a driving layup off a nifty spin to get the Hawks offense rolling. Weatherington was hitting from all spots on the floor early on, just like when he used to bullseye womp rats in his T-16 back home.

Isaiah Washington hit a couple threes of his own to pull the Bobcats within two and give them “A New Hope.” Chaise Daniels added a tough baseline hook and had some words for the official, who promptly hit the senior with a technical foul.

Daniels came off the bench in the second half, but was quickly pulled after appearing frustrated on the court. Daniels, clearly upset, smacked his chair before taking a seat after being taken out. It wasn’t a Kylo Ren tantrum where he destroyed various control panels with his lightsaber after Rey escaped, but Daniels was obviously not happy. The senior played just 13 minutes.

“It just wasn’t his night,” Dunleavy said of Daniels’ short stint on the court. “He needs to learn that anger leads to fear. Fear leads to hate. Hate, leads to suffering.”

With Daniels out, Washington and Young continued to pace the Bobcats in the second half, when a Young three and Washington elbow jumper gave the Bobcats an eight-point lead, their largest of the game.

“Somebody has to save our skins.” Washington and Young said of their ability to carry the team through an offensive funk.

Both teams struggled to maintain any offensive rhythm for most of the second half, but the Hawks were able to claw back and tie the game on a corner three by Dunne to ignite the crowd and prompt a timeout by Dunleavy with 10 minutes remaining. Weatherington hit another corner three for the Hawks out of the timeout to give Hartford the lead.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Bobcats fans murmured as the Hartford faithful celebrated with a pack of Ewoks in the Endor section of Chase Arena.

Young would give the Bobcats the lead back with a corner three, but Weatherington struck again with one of his own just seconds later. When the Bobcats tied it again, Dunne provided the response with yet another corner three to put the Hawks back in front, as the back-and-forth affair continued. Dunne pumped his fist as the arena erupted, prompting a timeout from Dunleavy.

“Great kid, don’t get cocky!” Gallagher said to Dunne on his way to the timeout huddle.

Down by a pair with under three minutes remaining, Young misfired on a three-point attempt, but grabbed his own rebound and turned it into a three-point play when he was fouled on the layup, putting the Bobcats in a position to claim another thrilling road win. On the next trip down the court, Young grabbed another clutch rebound and drew a foul on Hartford’s towering center who Hassan Attia, his fifth of the game.

“You were supposed to bring balance to the team, not leave it in darkness!” Gallagher cried, but Attia’s night was done.

The Bobcats forced a Carroll miss with 35 seconds left, but after another Young rebound, Alain Chigha was called for a moving screen, giving possession back to the Hawks with 31 seconds left, setting up Carroll’s heroics and a painful finish for the Bobcats, who are now 1-2 to start their five-game road swing, and need to win the final two games of their trip to make it a success.

“Never tell me the odds.” Dunleavy said after the game.

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