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Daniels leads Bobcats to season sweep of Siena

By: Ryan Chichester

There’s nothing like your best win of the season to ease the burden of spring classes starting in less than 24 hours.

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team halted its two-game losing streak with its most balanced effort of the year in a 76-69 win over Siena on the eve of spring semester. Five different Bobcats finished in double-figures, including a game-high 17 points from Chaise Daniels, who highlighted the team’s solid effort on both ends of the floor.

“He was communicating defensively and sprinting in transition,” Baker Dunleavy said of Daniels after the win. “He wasn’t demanding the ball. Everything comes to you when you play with that motor, and he had it going today.”

Dunleavy kept the focus on defense in the practices leading up to Siena, and Daniels responded with his best defensive showing of the year. Behind Daniels’ aggressiveness, the Bobcats outscored the Saints 42-18 in the paint.

“I was just playing with a clear mind and for my teammates,” Daniels said. “I was focused on the defensive end and knew the offense would take care of itself.”

Daniels’ offense took care of itself in the form of six field goals on nine attempts, while giving Siena forward Evan Fisher all he could handle beneath the rim.

Fisher led the Saints with 21 points in Siena’s 71-70 loss to Quinnipiac on New Year’s Day. After losing Nico Clareth for the season, the Saints desperately needed Fisher to lead the offensive charge. Instead, Daniels showed him to the bench.

With the Bobcats up by seven with 5:35 left in the second half, Daniels stripped the ball free from Fisher in the paint, and flexed his muscles on the other end with a tough left-handed layup while drawing the fifth foul on Fisher, who ended the night with 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting. All five of Fisher’s fouls were committed while guarding Daniels.

Daniels would miss the free throw attempt, but chased down his own rebound to extend a possession that eventually ended in a three-point play from Isaiah Washington, capping off a quick five-point swing to stick a dagger in the Saints.

Siena played from behind for most of the game, but kept it close thanks to 11-of-18 shooting from downtown. It kept a steady full-court press to force 11 Quinnipiac turnovers in the first half, but the Bobcats adjusted in the locker room to commit just three turnovers in the final 20 minutes, while Daniels and the offense helped them pull away.

The Bobcats’ offense enjoyed one of their most efficient night of the season despite a relatively quiet night from Cam Young, who finished with 10 points while navigating through early foul trouble. His teammates responded by shooting 61.4 percent from the field, finishing above 50-percent as a team in both the first and second half.

“I probably don’t have to look at the stats,” Dunleavy said. “Those are just numbers. Our guys did a good job playing for each other offensively. We got each other really good shots.”

The Saints let out one last breath in the final minutes from an unexpected source in freshman Manny Camper, who scored 10 straight Siena points to give Siena a glimmer of hope. Quinnipiac finished the job with a freshman of their own, as Rich Kelly hit four free throws down the stretch to finish with 16 points and end the Bobcats’ winter break on the highest possible note.

 

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