Quinnipiac falls to St. Francis (PA) in Conference Trap Game
By Peter D’Alauro
HAMDEN- This was supposed to be one of those games for Quinnipiac akin to an exhibition. After all, St. Francis came in to last night’s game with a 3-13 conference record and 5-21 overall. Naturally they came into this game playing the role of spoiler; as the Bobcat’s needed only one more win to clinch a home playoff game in the opening round of the NEC Tournament. This should have been a game used to rest some people that needed it and still pull of a victory against a for the most part, lowly non-competitive St. Francis team. However, to borrow a lyric from Eric Clapton, sometimes “your best laid plans lie out of reach,” as the Bobcats fell to the Red Flash from Pennsylvania, 73-72.
The Bobcats came into this game undermanned, as senior forward Victor Akinyanju injured himself while stepping on the bus following the game against LIU. When asked about the big man’s availability for Saturday’s final regular season home game vs. Robert Morris, DeSantis was careful with his response. “He’s going to have to respond better to treatment.” While it may not show in the box score, freshman Etienne Labrecque, 4 points and 3 rebounds, did an admirable job down low against a tough, on this night, St. Francis frontline. Another noticeable missing Bobcat in all but eight minutes of the entire game was guard Adam Gonzalez. DeSantis was also careful in how he approached the Gonzalez benching. “I make decisions based on who I have a chance to win the game with, it’s my decision.” DeSantis later made everyone aware that Gonzalez missed practice the day before due to an exam he had during that same time, which DeSantis was quick to point out was completely acceptable.
In terms of game performance, the TD Banknorth faithful saw shades of previous Quinnipiac basketball teams of the past. So much talent, yet little results when it counted. In this game the Bobcats started out to an early 7-0 lead. However later in the first half, with the score 23-20 Quinnipiac, St. Francis went on a 9-0 run and for the most part, never looked back. The score at halftime was St. Francis 39, Quinnipiac 28.
The second half saw much of the same poor defense from the Bobcats, even though they were able to regain the lead at one point. Demarrio Anderson did an excellent job of carrying the offense as he added 25 points on 10 of 19 shooting from the field. Also doing a nice job in this otherwise lackluster effort for the Bobcats was freshman guard Job Casmir. He hit a crucial lay-up, got fouled, and hit the free throw to bring the Bobcats to within one, but that’s as close as they would get. A huge three was made by Cale Nelson of the Red Flash with 53 seconds to go to give St. Francis the lead back for good at 69-67. The Bobcats had a chance at the end a couple of time , but a Van Crafton three point attempt fell short and was put back for a meaningless two points by Karl Anderson to make the final score 73-72. You have to wonder why DeMario Anderson didn’t touch the ball on either of the final possessions for the Bobcats. All in all, a horrendous loss for Quinnipiac as they try to better their positioning in the NEC standings. “I was disappointed with the way we came out to start the game, but I have to give my guys credit, they didn’t quit. We were able to fight back and we had a chance to win, but we just fell short in the end,” said coach Joe DeSantis. Final home game takes place Saturday at noon where the senior players will be honored for Senior Day.