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Quinnipiac vs. Vermont Preview

Photo Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Ryan Chichester

 

The Bobcats (3-8) will look to shake off the frustration of another close loss and travel north to play Vermont (7-5) on Thursday night, looking to avoid a 1-4 road swing before starting conference play.

To finish the road stretch with more than one win, the Bobcats will have to overcome what is arguably their toughest test of the season so far in the Catamounts, who are 7-5 after suffering a tough road loss of their own in their last game, losing by a buzzer-beating three-pointer at St. Bonaventure. Despite the loss, the Catamounts have a solid resume so far that includes a narrow four-point loss on the road at Kentucky in the season opener, and an 81-57 drubbing of Siena, a familiar MAAC opponent for the Bobcats.

Here is what to keep an eye on when the Bobcats meet the Catamounts at 7 p.m. on Thursday night:

 

Containing the Catamounts

After facing a Drexel team that considered the three-pointer an afterthought, the Bobcats will have to immediately change their approach and play tight on the perimeter against a Vermont team that shoots 40-percent from behind the arc. The Catamounts shot 10-for-21 from three in their loss to St. Bonaventure, and possess a number of shooters who the Bobcats will have to keep an eye on.

The Catamounts have four players averaging in double figures, including sophomore Anthony Lamb, who is averaging 16.6 points per game, fifth-best in the America East. Freshman Stef Smith is shooting 51.7-percent from downtown, and took home conference Rookie of the Week honors on Monday. The Catamount’s offensive balance was on full display in their win against Siena, when six players finished in double figures in the blowout win.

Vermont’s ability to score is complimented by their ability to take care of the ball and limit mistakes. The Catamounts have one of the toughest offenses Quinnipiac has had to defend yet as their 1.29 assist/turnover ratio is tops in the America East. If Quinnipiac can shoot like they did in their win against Columbia, they should be able to keep up.

 

An old friend

Waiting for the Bobcats in Vermont will be junior Samuel Dingba, who transferred to Vermont from Quinnipiac two years ago. Dingba averaged eight minutes per game for the Bobcats in the 2014-15 season, and is currently playing similar minutes with the Catamounts. Alain Chigha will present an especially familiar face for Dingba, as both are from Yaounde, Cameroon.

 

Alain Chigha (PC: Quinnipiac Athletics)

Speaking of Chigha, the forward will have to play disciplined on Thursday night and avoid foul trouble. Chigha picked up a trio of early fouls on Monday night and trimmed down the Bobcats’ already thin rotation with the absence of Chaise Daniels. Abdulai Bundu stepped up nicely with Daniels out, and now it’s time for Chigha to do the same. He won’t be expected to score like Bundu, but he needs to be a force on the glass and eliminate second chances for a Vermont offense that will pounce on extra opportunities.

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