Thanks to Crafton, without Gonzalez, season is not over
By: Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
March 2, 2007
In the world of sports, there’s that old adage that it’s never over until it’s over.
Such was the case last night for third-ranked Quinnipiac. Their nail-biting, 78-77 Northeast Conference quarterfinal win over sixth-ranked Farleigh Dickinson saw the Bobcats claw their way back into a contest dominated for almost 28 minutes by the visitors.
Already missing second-leading scorer Adam Gonzalez, who was resting in a local hospital due to an undisclosed medical issue, the Bobcats task was immediately a tough one.
And midway through the first half, Quinnipiac began to feel what it would be like minus the senior swingman. The Knights seemed poised to run the Bobcats right out of TD Banknorth Sports Center late in the first half as the visitors coasted to a 38-24 lead.
After FDU’s Bernell Murray knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Knights in cruise control with 3:27 left, the Bobcat faithful began to turn their attention away from the game and to other matters, such as the mascots of both teams playfully skirmishing with each other.
Just like that, Quinnpiac’s best season in quite some time was shockingly over—or was it?
With FDU riding a 52-44 lead and in command for most of the second half, all of sudden, a hero was born for Quinnipiac.
Only this time, it was not junior guard DeMario Anderson, although his 17 points were equally important in the victory.
The start of this night belonged to senior guard Van Crafton, whose personal 12-0 run that gave the home team new life was seemingly the spark they needed.
He would go on to send the Knights packing for the summer by hitting a pair of free throws with under six seconds remaining.
“That’s my job”, said Crafton, whose game-high 23 points were a season-high, just one shy of his career-high. “My teammates found me open and I was able to make my shots”.
And just as important, the Bobcats wanted this one more without Gonzalez.
“He just told us he wanted one more game”, said Anderson of his phone conversation prior to tip-off with Gonzalez.
Now, the Bobcats ride this new momentum, and the shoulders of Crafton, back to Fairfield for a rematch with second-seeded Sacred Heart. The Pioneers clinched their position with an 87-84 win over QU just four days ago.
Although head coach Joe DeSantis didn’t give a definitive timetable, there’s a possibility that Gonzalez may be back in time for Sunday’s matinee.
“Right now, he’s resting and we’ll see what happens”, said Coach DeSantis. “We’re not thinking about (Sacred Heart) yet. We’re gonna visit Adam and see how he’s doing”.