Geffen Leads Well-Balanced Bobcats
By Zach Smart
Entering their first Northeast Conference game of the season, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team knew that a well-oiled offensive machine would be an aspect paramount to success. After dropping an ugly loss to Brown on Monday, the Bobcats found themselves in a must-win situation Thursday night at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
So, how would the Bobcats react?
They decided to pull some of the immense weight off senior swingman DeMario Anderson’s shoulders.
Quinnipiac played a cohesive and mindful brand of basketball, en route to recording a 90-79 victory over St. Francis N.Y. before a virtually non-existent crowd in the 3,500-seat arena. The win gives the Bobcats a 1-0 start on the conference slate, lifting them to 3-4 on the season. The Terriers—who are yet to register a road win—drop to 3-5.
Anderson scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Bobcats, but it was the play of combo guard Bryan Geffen (16 points), an instant sparkplug off the bench and a presence in the perimeter game, that provided most of the firepower. The Queens product shot 6-for-8 from the floor, going 3-for-4 from three-point territory.
“Of our three wins, Bryan Geffen has had two very big games for us,” said Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore, referring to the Bobcats’ 85-79 double-overtime win over Hartford, when Geffen went off for 19 points and handed out six assists.
“He is capable of that every night. I know that there’s more to him – that’s why I push him the way I do – to try and get it out of him. He proved what he’s capable of and it’s exciting to see what he can do.”
Power forward Louis Brookins, a transfer by way of Maryland-Eastern Shore, was also exceptional. Brookins scored 17 points and connected on all six of his field goal attempts, floating freely around the cup and finishing, as the Bobcats didn’t hesitate to make the extra pass down low.
The game came with a bit of a billing, as anticipation for an intriguing matchup between DeMario Anderson and Robert Hines loomed. Anderson and Hines, both prolific scorers (with a penchant for scoring in traffic and clusters) are surefire first team All-NEC selections. But Hines (18.4 ppg) came out colder than Colorado, misfiring on his first seven attempts. Anderson started off just 2-for-10 before unleashing a pair of acrobatic layups that pumped life into the Bobcats as the first half came winding down.
The Bobcats came out of the gates looking like a new team. They jumped out to an 8-0 lead that caused an irate Brian Nash to signal a timeout.
The Bobcats’ bulge ballooned to 21-11, but St. Francis responded, reeling off an absurd 18-0 run that left the few fans in attendance shaking their heads. This would put the Terriers ahead, 29-21, with just a thread under five minutes remaining in the first half.
In the second half, the Terriers surged ahead, 49-46, before the Bobcats ripped off a 7-0 run. This gave them a 53-49 cushion that they wouldn’t relinquish. Geffen keyed the run with a trey, before pick-pocketing Bass Yessoufou and converting a layup. The lead would swell to as many as 10 after a long-range three by point guard Casey Cosgrove.
Cosgrove, who drew Moore’s ire early with a pair of back-to-back turnovers, was relegated to the bench and replaced with seldom-used sophomore Steve Robinson.
Cosgrove would return in the second half, nailing a pair of titanic three-pointers.
Jamaal Womack, a quick-strike shooter who was planted behind the arc throughout the night, led St. Francis with 18 points. Hines chipped in with 14 in an irregular performance from the forward.
Anderson copped his second double-double of the season and the Bobcats shot a blistering 55 percent from the field.
So, Moore will likely get to sleep much easier tonight, as the Bobcats bounced back from a 20-turnover disaster against Brown.
For Geffen, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, such a significant role was inconceivable prior to the season.
With the return of an established point guard in Cosgrove, and the arrival of a highly-touted junior college transfer in Jeremy Baker coming in, Geffen was unsure of where he would fall into the picture. He figured he’d have to wrestle for some tick this season.
But Baker will sit out this season, as the NCAA has not cleared him to play. Geffen, a transfer via Boston University who sat out last year due to transfer rules, is making some waves in his first season with the Bobcats.
And they just might ripple throughout the Northeast Conference.