Bobcats fall to Wagner in overtime despite valiant effort
By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
February 11, 2008
HAMDEN — Without DeMario Anderson, Quinnipiac gave visiting Wagner everything they could handle in what was deemed a critical Northeast Conference matchup Monday night. However, with the star guard back in his hometown of Oxon Hill, MD, tending to a family emergency, the Seahawks were simply too fast and too aggressive for the short-handed Bobcats down the stretch.
Sophomore guard Casey Cosgrove tied a career-high with 16 points, but Wagner, behind some clutch shooting from Joey Mundweiler, outscored Quinnipiac, 20-8, in overtime as the Seahawks came away with an 82-70 victory in front of 1,138 at TD Banknorth SportsCenter. The win was especially huge for Wagner, not only because they clinched a playoff berth in the upcoming NEC tournament, but they claimed sole possession of third place in the conference, leaving the Bobcats 3 1/2 games back of first-place Sacred Heart, and only a half-game up in the loss column on Central Connecticut State.
It’s an effort that DeMario would’ve been proud of, and many on the Quinnipiac coaching squad will say that this was a game the Bobcats had well in hand. They did, in fact, seem seconds away from pulling off a stunning upset, but the Seahawks (17-6, 10-2 Northeast Conference) withstood a defensive stand by the Bobcats with 45 seconds left.
After Cosgrove sank a pair of free throws to give Quinnipiac a 62-59 lead, Wagner worked their offense around the perimeter and eventually found Mundweiler for a wide-open three-pointer from the right corner of the baseline. His attempt was too strong, as was Mark Porter’s from the top of the key. Quinnipiac had a chance to snag the rebound, but they couldn’t get a handle on the loose ball, which eventually fell back into the hands of Mundweiler, who silenced the raucous crowd by knocking down the wide-open, game-tying shot with 18 seconds to go.
The Bobcats had a chance to win at the horn, but Cosgrove’s runner in the lane was too strong. That turned out to be the last time the Bobcats kept pace with the Seahawks, thanks to Mundweiler. He scored eight of his game-high 19 points in the extra-session , including a big three-pointer that sealed the win for Wagner with 1:33 left, making it 74-66. The field goal was preceded by an alley-oop two-hand jam by Jamal Smith from Porter, as the Seahawks took advantage without the Bobcats’ senior captain.
“We come up with that rebound in regulation, we win the game,” Bobcats Assistant head coach Scott Burrell told WQUN after the game. “We hung in there and fought hard, but we’ll have to grow from this.”
Bryan Geffen scored 15 points and Karl Anderson added 12 for Quinnipiac (12-11, 8-4 NEC), which lost its second-straight. Smith and Porter rounded out a balanced scoring attack by Wagner, scoring 17 and 18 points, respectively.
The contest stayed close for most of the game, as the Bobcats played “inspired basketball” without DeMario on the floor. They had a chance to extend a 31-26 lead in the final seconds of the first half, but Porter cut into the deficit on a buzzer-beating three-pointer from near NBA range.
Late in the second half, both teams began making the battle interesting. After an alley-oop conversion by Durrell Vinson gave Wagner at 57-54 lead with 3:16 to go, Geffen put the Bobcats in front, 60-59, on a spectacular running hook-shot off the glass. It came moments after he knocked down a three-pointer to help Quinnipiac draw even with the Seahawks, 58-58 with a little over two minutes remaining.
NOTE: It was announced during the WQUN broadcast that Coach Tom Moore told DeMario to take all the time he needs before returning to the team, which could come either Thursday night at Long Island or Saturday at Mount Saint Mary’s.