Kevin Marfo Stuffs Stat Sheet in Quinnipiac Win Over Holy Cross


(Photo: Liz Flynn/QBSN)

Eric Kerr

The early stages of the Quinnipiac men’s basketball season showed low production on the stat sheet for the return of Kevin Marfo.

A game against the Holy Cross Crusaders featured a performance from Marfo that flipped that script, with a performance that Bobcats fans are used to seeing.

A 76-68 win Monday night at the People’s United Center was fueled by a near triple-double from Marfo. Finishing with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, the graduate forward is simply glad to statistically show his style of play.

“Going back to what I do well,” Marfo said. “Try to create opportunities with offensive rebounds, that’s who I am as a player.”

His rebounding contributed to a second half resurgence for all Bobcats in that stat. Holy Cross won the battle in the first (17-12), but Quinnipiac more than doubled their first-half total to 25 in winning the battle by eight more boards in the second.

Quinnipiac head coach Baker Dunleavy said stronger defense led to more contested Holy Cross shots creating more rebounding opportunities.

“We made them miss more,” Dunleavy said. “So, rebounds were more available for us to get.”

The Bobcats also outscored the Crusaders in the second half. After an 8-4 run that led Quinnipiac to trail 43-38 at the end of the first, the team came out blazing with a 20-6 run to start the second. This led the Bobcats to a 38-25 victory during the entire half.

“Our first half, we kind of got punched in the mouth,” sophomore guard Tymu Chenery said. “We said we just got to play harder.”

Marfo sealed the deal at the charity stripe. Corralling a huge offensive rebound with one hand led to a Holy Cross defender fouling him. Quinnipiac was in the double bonus, resulting in Marfo taking and making two free throws. The two points extended the Bobcats lead by five (71-66) with under two minutes remaining in the game.

Chenery, senior guard Tyrese Williams, and Marfo would add in five more points from the free-throw line for five more points to secure the victory. Despite shooting 52.9% from the free-throw line for the entire game, the three Bobcats helped the team make 7-10 at the end.

One stat the Bobcats thrived in the whole game were assists. Quinnipiac dominated Holy Cross in this stat, where a 22-6 advantage was fueled by solid off-ball movement for open threes and cuts to the rim for easy baskets.

Marfo led the Bobcats in assists against the Crusaders as well. His teammates credit his vision and unselfishness to their success on the court.

“It starts with a guy like Kevin,” Chenery said. “Just doing a lot, spacing the floor out for us, and just looking to create for teammates helps a guy like me a lot, especially on the back cuts.”

Marfo does not credit his own playmaking abilities for his assist numbers, but rather his team for being in the right spots to score.

“We know how to play, we know how to move off the ball,” Marfo said. “Our coaches prepare us really well in terms of scouting reports. We know how teams are going to guard us and we took advantage of it.”

Chenery finished as Quinnipiac’s leading scorer with 14 points, but a couple of missed opportunities could have added to his total. While he and teammate Dezi Jones connected for an alley-oop for the last points of the first half against Western New England, Chenery failed to finish any of the three lobs Jones threw his way against Holy Cross.

“I want to apologize for missing oops,” Chenery said while hugging Jones in the press conference. “I missed two plays so it’s eating me right now, I’ll finish them, and he knows he can pass them to me again.”

Dunleavy acknowledged that his group features a team where everyone likes each other, but he believes the team’s early success stems from more than friendships.

“You can like each other,” Dunleavy said. “But the harder you play, and the more you play for other guys, you are going to play well because of them. That’s what we preach, and I think that’s what these guys are feeling.”

His players recognize the amount of time it takes on and off the court to get that feeling.

“We come out every single day, practice, game, off days, we do what we need to do to prepare for what’s ahead of us,” Jones said.

The Bobcats will have four prep days before their next game. They will wrap up a three-game homestand against Central Connecticut State University this Saturday at 1 p.m.