Bobcats falter to CCSU again
Central Connecticut 94, Quinnipiac 71
By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
February 11, 2006
NEW BRITAIN – Yesterday’s Quinnipiac-Central Connecticut contest had all the makings of a tournament final. The top two teams in the Northeast Conference played a tight, physical contest for the first 20 minutes, with neither team holding a lead bigger than eight points.
But in the second half, a Bobcat four-point halftime deficit snowballed into a tough 94-71 loss, as the one-two combination of Javier Mojica and Obie Nwadike helped the Blue Devils (15-10, 12-1 Northeast) remain hot in the conference. Not only did CCSU sweep the season series, they extended their win streak to a conference-high 10.
“Its amazing the amount of shots they made”, said a dejected Quinnipiac head coach Joe DeSantis. “You have to give them credit. They totally dominated us in the second half”.
But there are so many other factors that could contribute to the defeat. Missed opportunities, ineffective shooting, costly turnovers—and maybe some frustration created by the Blue Devils’ defense for not allowing Quinnipiac (11-12, 9-5) to get into any sort of rhythm, could have also been a factor.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, it got the better of them mid-way through the second half as both DeSantis and Adam Gonzalez were assessed technical fouls for arguing with the officials.
That proved to be their achilles heel as Nwadike and Mojica keyed what turned out to be a decisive 10-2 run in helping the Blue Devils stretch a 48-44 lead into a 60-47 advantage with 17:03 remaining.
After he converted on a three-point play, Mojica knocked down a 3-pointer that all but sealed the win with 5:52 left. He led all scorers with 32 points while Nwadike chipped in a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
For Quinnipiac, Gonzalez scored 18 points and former-Blue Devil DeMario Anderson, heckled all afternoon from most of the 2, 716 Detrick Gymnasium fans, contributed with 16.
The Bobcats came out firing in the first half behind the hot shooting of Casey Cosgrove. His second three-pointer of the game put QU up by just a point before a jumper by Central’s Jemino Sobers gave the home team an 18-16 lead.
A Mojica putback off an Nwakie miss increased the Blue Devil’s lead to 41-33 with under four minutes left. But Anderson kept the Bobcats within striking distance until the final period, as his two-hand, breakaway dunk off a steal made it a four-point affair headed into the break.
Despite the loss, Quinnipiac still maintains second-place in the NEC with four games left. Given the way both teams have played as of late, there stands a possibility they’ll see each other for the right to go to the NCAA’s next month.
But DeSantis is not thinking that far ahead just yet.
“It’s so wide open”, said DeSantis of the overall conference playoff picture. “Every game is going to be like a championship game. We just have to make sure we’re playing well headed into the tournament”.