Quinnipiac handles Saint Peter’s

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Quinnipiac handles Saint Peter’s

Credit: Morgan Tencza

Credit: Morgan Tencza

Credit: Morgan Tencza

Credit: Morgan Tencza

Kevin Higgins

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By: Kevin Higgins

 “Give the ball to Cam.”

Quinnipiac point guard Rich Kelly’s postgame quote sounds about right.

On a historic day for Cameron Young, the Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s basketball team (10-9, 5-3 MAAC) topped the St. Peter’s University Peacocks (6-13, 3-4 MAAC) by a score of 77-58. Young led the way for the Bobcats with 28 points and surpassed the 1000 point mark in his Quinnipiac career.

“It’s big… I’ve been through a lot at this school,” Young said after the win. “To be honest, a thousand points… I never thought it would be something I would get.”

 Young did indeed get it, but he and his team had to first fight through a tough offensive first half.

Quinnipiac takes the eighth most three-pointers per game in the country (29 per game), but it only shoots the three ball at a 36.2% clip.

St. Peter’s took advantage of Quinnipiac’s shooting woes in both of their matchups last year, holding the Bobcats to just 58 and 43 points respectively in two Peacock wins. When the deep ball shooting hit the skids early on Sunday, though, Quinnipiac changed things up – they started to attack St. Peter’s in the paint.

With the Bobcats stuck at just 12 points through almost 12 minutes, they turned to the oft-forgotten inside shot to get them out of a team-wide slump. Players like Rich Kelly, Tyrese Williams, and Kevin Marfo made their presence felt in the marked area, as each contributed multiple baskets to pick up the slack, spurring an 18-7 run that put Quinnipiac up by eight.

With Young just three points away from hitting the century mark, he capped off the run in style.

After a St. Peter’s missed three, the Bobcats ran out in transition before passing it to their leading scorer behind the arc. As Young hit what has become a signature three with a hand in his face, he reached 1,000 points for his Quinnipiac career.

He stopped, posed and smiled to an adoring crowd, as he received a standing ovation while the PA made the official announcement. Quinnipiac ran with that momentum, as they ended up surging into halftime with a 37-25 lead. Young’s coach had nothing but praise for his star player.

“It’s incredible what he’s done,” Bobcats head coach Baker Dunleavy said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work, but he’s put it in. I’m really impressed.”

Young was a spectacle throughout the entire game, but Dunleavy was undoubtedly impressed with his team’s second-half performance.

Quinnipiac put on a clinic to start the game’s final 20 minutes, turning a 12 point lead into a 21 point margin in just five minutes. Young, Kelly and Jacob Rigoni all hit big shots, and Tyrese Williams led a suffocating defensive effort to take the wind out of the Peacocks’ sails.

Most notably, Williams was left to guard St. Peter’s leading scorer and facilitator, Davauhnte Turner. Under the blanket that was Williams’ defense, Turner was held to only 15 points, with most coming in garbage time, and was forced to take heavily contested shots all game long. Turner’s +/- finished at an ugly -23 thanks to the effort.

“(Williams) guarded one of the best offensive players in our league… as well as anybody I’ve ever seen,” Dunleavy said. “We’re really proud of him as a freshman to give his energy in that way… it was a big part of us being able to win.”

Besides a 25-10 disparity in free throw attempts, there wasn’t any other statistic where Quinnipiac was dominant; it was just better than St. Peter’s in nearly every facet of the game. In a complete turn of events from last year’s aforementioned struggles against the Peacocks, the Bobcats rolled to an easy 19 point win.

“This was a good step for us in terms of consistency over 40 minutes,” said Dunleavy. “It was as complete an effort as we’ve had.”

Quinnipiac will look to have a similar effort their next time out at Canisius this Friday. St. Peter’s, on the other hand, will look for a better performance this Thursday at Rider.