Bobcats stumble, bumble, fall to Maine
By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
November 21, 2007
HAMDEN — DeMario Anderson and Louis Brookins did all they could in trying to help Quinnipiac make up for another slow start on Wednesday night, this time against Maine.
In the end, it was the visiting Black Bears who got the better of the Bobcats as Mark Socoby’s 29 points led Maine to their third-straight win, a 64-59 victory, at TD Banknorth Sports Center.
And for coach Tom Moore, it was a loss he blamed solely on himself.
“I’m responsible for the way we played”, said a visibly upset Moore. “Maine’s a great team and seemed to be hungrier at the start.”
DeMario earned his first career double-double as a Bobcat with 29 points and 10 rebounds, but the story of this night belonged to Socoby, who also shot 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and went a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
“That’s our team’s fault because I thought we were playing too soft on him early”, said Moore. “We didn’t play good defense and allowed him to hint at his shot.”
After a lackluster, low-scoring first half for both teams, the Black Bears (3-2) got their offense going behind Socoby. He sparked an 11-2 run with a pair of three-pointers to open up a 49-34 advantage mid-way through the second half.
But Brookins keyed a 14-0 rally with a bucket to cut the deficit to 55-45 at the 6:18 mark of the contest. DeMario followed that up with a sick cross-over and conversion, and suddenly, Quinnipiac made a game of it at 55-47 with a little over three minutes remaining.
The Bobcats (1-2) had a chance to inch closer, but a costly decision by Casey Cosgrove led to a three-point play by Maine’s Junior Bernal. With Quinnipiac trailing by five with 31 seconds left, Cosgrove found himself alone on the left wing and thought about firing a three-pointer. Feeling a sure block coming from a Maine defender, Cosgrove reluctantly threw it into the hands of Bernal at the peak of his attempt, who then drove the other way for the score and the harm that sealed the win for Maine.
Bernal contributed 14 points while Brookins also poured in 14 for Quinnipiac, who shot of 3-of-12 from three-point range.
“We had a lot of different guys step up tonight”, said Maine coach Ted Woodward. “Fortunately we played well enough to win when we started to struggle late.”
DeMario couldn’t find his touch early, as he finished the first half with 12 points on an abysmal 4-of-11 shooting.
Bernal and Socoby attributed for the team’s struggling offense in the period, as they scored on consecutive buckets to help Maine turn and 18-13 contest into a 28-24 halftime lead.