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Quinnipiac vs. Marist preview

Photo Courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Ryan Chichester

The euphoria of the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team’s 2-0 conference start has been quickly beaten into submission by two straight losses to Canisius and Saint Peter’s, bringing the Bobcats to .500 in their young MAAC schedule.

While the Bobcats have officially crashed back down to earth, they have an opportunity to resume their ascent on Thursday night when they welcome Marist to Lender Court. The Red Foxes are 3-12 so far this season and have dropped two straight conference games themselves. If the Bobcats have shaken off the beat-down they suffered at the hands of the Peacocks on Sunday, they should have a solid chance to get back in the win column tonight.

Here’s what to look out for once the opening tip is thrown in Hamden:

Containing Brian Parker

Parker has been a tough assignment on the offensive end all season, and currently ranks fourth in the MAAC with 18.9 points per game. However, the junior from Cleveland has been even better in conference games. His 24 points per game in three MAAC contests is the best in the conference, ahead of Cam Young and his 21.8 points per game.

The Bobcats will need to play Parker close to avoid a breakout game from Parker, who dropped 21 points on Niagara in Marist’s last game, after dropping a season-high 33 against Manhattan in the game prior. After allowing the Peacocks to shoot over 60-percent from the field on Sunday, the Bobcats will have to tighten up considerably on defense to prevent Parker from being a one-man show on offense.

Wanted: supporting cast

Simply put, the Bobcats are starving for some offense from a source other than Young. Chaise Daniels has been able to maintain his high field goal percentage (51.8 percent) since returning from personal leave, but aside from the senior duo, there is not much shooting to be found, especially in the starting lineup. Jacob Rigoni is always a deep threat off the bench, but the Bobcats need another source of offense if the threes aren’t falling.

Young shot just 3-for-13 in the loss to Canisius, but made up for it by getting to the free throw line 20 times to finish with 23 points. Daniels and Young combined to shoot 10-for-20 from the field on Sunday, yet the team finished the day with an ugly 29-percent field goal percentage. The supporting cast needs to start making shots to level out the offense, and hopefully this matchup with the second-worst scoring defense in the MAAC (Marist is allowing 83.3 points per game) will help someone get going from the floor.

A prime candidate would be Isaiah Washington, who is just 3-for-16 from the field in the Bobcats’ last two games. With the defensive-minded Abdulai Bundu in the starting lineup ahead of Daniels, shooters like Washington need to find their stroke and keep the offense in rhythm, while relieving some of the burden from Young, who is shouldering the offensive load of this team as of late.

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