Quinnipiac holds off Presbyterian to win back-to-back games


Chris Dacey

Story by Chris Dacey

In its second game of the Bobcats Invitational, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team held off Presbyterian 73-64 to give the Bobcats back-to-back wins with another game coming Sunday afternoon.

The Bobcats made many contributions on Saturday but graduate forward Aaron Falzon’s 14 points, along with eight rebounds stood out on a team where rebounds were in question in Quinnipiac’s first three games.

“You have to find other ways to impact the game,” Falzon said. “I’m just trying to get in the mindset of being aggressive and making all the defensive plays and rebound the ball.”

Along with Falzon, redshirt junior Kevin Marfo grabbed 13 rebounds to help the Bobcats out-rebound the Blue Hose 39-to-32.

Head coach Baker Dunleavy had been vocal about his team’s rebounding and how it needed to get better after the season opener at Brown.

“It’s just a mentality and he decided to go do it and we have been talking to him about that,” Dunleavy said. “We have been talking to him about, we have been talking to all of our wings about that.”

As for the scoring on Saturday, the Bobcats came out of the gate slow after making over 50% of their threes the previous night in the Albany game. Quinnipiac started to heat up in the second half as a player like Falzon started to see their shots fall.

“We have really good guards and we play a good style of spread so they hit me in the right spots, and I had the chance to just shoot open shots,” Falzon said. “I stepped into my shots and made them so that’s just a product of our offense and our team.”

But Dunleavy admitted the difficulty of playing a back-to-back was a challenge for his team even though Quinnipiac is hosting the event.

“It’s not often, once every couple of years, that you play at these events, we just happen to be hosting it and we are playing like three games in a row,” Dunleavy said “Big challenge for us tonight in a back-to-back to have the energy that we had last night, and it just didn’t feel the same.”

Dunleavy credits the lack of energy to Presbyterian and how they came to play, especially early on. The head coach was even more shocked to see that Presbyterian guard Cory Hightower finished the contest with a triple-double (16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists). Dunleavy noted how impressive it was.

Dunleavy and his squad did limit Presbyterian’s big man, Ben Drake, to only five points and one total rebound. He credited that to the work of his team, especially Marfo down low.

Now comes the third game in three days for the Bobcats as in-state opponent Sacred Heart is up next in the schedule. In the two games at the Bobcats Invitational, Sacred Heart has played a lot of zone defense and has shown no fear to let the three-ball fly.

That is similar to the game plan of Quinnipiac and Dunleavy is aware and knows exactly how to prepare his squad.

“The biggest thing to me as a coach is on short rest, we don’t have a lot of time to prep,” Dunleavy said. “You have to emphasize do what we do well and not clog their minds with too much.”