Central defeats Quinnipiac… again
by Seth Rothman
February 7, 2008
HAMDEN — They’ve done it again.
Thanks in large part to a 33-16 Central Connecticut State run over the first 11 minutes of the second half, Central Connecticut State rolled to an 85-71 win over Quinnipiac at the TD Banknorth Sports Center on Thursday night.
Quinnipiac is now 2-25 in their last 27 games against Central, and 2-18 against the Blue Devils since joining the Northeast Conference in 1998. The Bobcats have also lost their last 10 games in Hamden against their counterparts from New Britain, Conn.
After the game, Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore was embarrassed by how easily the Blue Devils (11-12, 7-5 NEC) controlled Quinnipiac (12-10, 8-3 NEC).
“We got handled out of the gate and got handled the entire second half on the offensive boards, and the way they executed their offense,” Moore said. “They were the tougher-minded team throughout the whole game. We had some spots where we made some shots and stood up to them. We never out-toughed them, but we stood up to them. That’s the first time it’s happened all year to us, so it’s startling and embarrassing to have it happen in front of [2,841] people.”
“Coach [Dickenman] makes them play hard. They out-toughed us,” Bobcats sophomore Casey Cosgrove said. “They were ready and wanted it more, and the final score showed it — the entire game showed it.”
“We just got outplayed. Rebounds, defending, offense. It was all across the board,” Bobcats captain DeMario Anderson said. “We couldn’t match their energy on offense or defense, and the final score showed it.”
Anderson, who scored 12 points, was defended by Central’s biggest offensive threat, senior Tristan Blackwood. DeMario said he wasn’t fazed by playing his old team — it’s the third time he’s done it. He gave credit to Blackwood for shutting him down.
“I was a little amped up, but this is my third time playing them, so it’s not anything I’m not used to,” Anderson said. “Tip of the hat to Tristan Blackwood — he did a great job defending me.”
The point total is DeMario’s lowest since December 16 against UConn when he scored only 10 points.
“Tristan was very strong tonight, incredibly strong. Strength of mind, strength of body — all phases of the game,” Moore said. “That’s a risky move to put their best offensive player on our best offensive player, but they did it. He played very physical, but didn’t foul. He frustrated DeMario into a couple bad shots.”
“He’s a good player, so our focus was to keep him down,” Blackwood said. “He’s a good player, he’s going to get his, so we just have to try to play good defense.”
“DeMario Anderson is one of the best players in the league, and Tristan denied him so many times that I think Quinnipiac got out of rhythm,” Central coach Howie Dickenman said. They depend so much on DeMario that they felt a little lost without him out there.”
For Quinnipiac, the intensity wasn’t where they wanted it to be, and it showed when Central went on their run to start the second half. Quinnipiac tied the score and even took the lead before the end of the first half, but once the teams returned to the floor, it was all Blue Devils.
“They just out-toughed us. Everything they did was better than us tonight,” Cosgrove said. “They crashed the boards and controlled the game. They beat us pretty good. We feel like we’re the better team, but that wasn’t the case today.”
The stat sheet shows Quinnipiac actually out-rebounded Central 48-42, and 23-17 on the offensive glass. Moore says that stat is deceiving.
“I felt they were twice as good a rebounding team all night,” a visibly frustrated Moore said. “The numbers look so skewed from us having to play crazy in the last five minutes. That’s the most deceiving stat we’ve had all year. They were clearly better, tougher, and more consistent rebounding tonight.”
So now, Quinnipiac has to get ready for Wagner on Monday in Hamden. Moore says it won’t be an easy task.
“Wagner has a reputation for being a physical, tough team. We just looked so weak tonight, I’d rather play anyone other than Wagner on Monday after how we played tonight,” Moore said. “We have two practices to get our house in order. I’ll watch the tape and look at some personnel switches. A night like this, in such a big spot when so many kids come up so short, as a coach it really makes you shuffle the deck a little bit.”
“It’s a tough loss, but it’s a long season,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of games left. Wagner’s going to be another very tough game. We just have to keep our heads up and take this as a learning experience.”