A 15-0 run in the middle of the second half helped the Quinnipiac Bobcats overcome a ten point halftime deficit against the Oregon State Beavers, but it was not enough to propel them to victory as the Bobcats fell 76-68 in their first-ever meeting against a Pac-12 opponent.
After opening the game with a 13-8 lead, the Bobcats’ poor shooting caught up with them as the Beavers went on a 15-5 run to take the lead. OSU shot 55% from the field in the first half compared to Quinnipiac’s 29%. This disparity helped the Beavers stretch their lead to a 39-29 advantage going into halftime.
After trading baskets in the first four minutes of the second half, Quinnipiac went on their 15-0 run to grab a 3 point lead going into the under-12 media timeout. However, over the next four minutes the Beavers would respond with a 12-1 run to regain control of the game. Quinnipiac would get back within 5 points with 0:51 remaining, but an overaggressive pass from Shaq Shannon intended for Zaid Hearst on a fast break was stolen by OSU’s Hallice Cooke and the Beavers were able to ice the game with free throws.
The Beavers finished the game shooting 46% from the floor (actually low for them as they average 51%) and 38% from 3-point range. OSU’s efficiency shooting the ball propelled them to a mark of 1.12 points per possession and was the key to them overcoming Quinnipiac’s dominance on the offensive glass.
The Bobcats ended at 34% overall and 29% from beyond the arc, and although they had a much better showing from long-range than they did against Lehigh, 5 of their 6 makes came from one player – Umar Shannon. While a big game from one player can help propel a team to victory in any single game, a more well-balanced scoring effort from long-range would seem to be the Bobcats’ key to long-term success.
After missing the last two games with a hyper-extended knee, OSU’s Angus Brandt put up an impressive showing in his return against Quinnipiac. Brandt finished as the game’s leading scorer, putting up 21 points while grabbing 5 rebounds. 17 of his points came in the first half when he seemed to score at will.
Roberto Nelson backed up Brandt’s effort with 19 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Devon Collier added 11 points of his own while the freshman Cooke contributed 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 critical steal off the bench.
Shannon’s five buckets from beyond the arc helped him to a team-high 18 points. Ike Azotam was right behind Shannon with 17 points and 5 rebounds while Ousmane Drame finished with a double-double on 11 points and 12 rebounds.
After being held scoreless in the first half, Drame opened the second half with three straight baskets in the first 90 seconds to help spark the Bobcats’ comeback effort. However, with 7:05 remaining in the game, OSU’s Langston Morris-Walker hit Drame in the face with his shoulder while going for a steal.
Drame went down on the court for a few minutes with a bloody nose and was then taken into the locker room for further examination. He would return to the game with 1:30 remaining, but did not register any stats from that point on. Morris-Walker was assessed a flagrant 1 foul for the incident.
OSU outrebounded Quinnipiac 20-18 in the first half, but the Bobcats battled back in the second to win the rebounding battle 43-36. They also held a 19-7 edge over the Beavers on the offensive glass. It was the 43rd consecutive game the Bobcats have gone without losing the battle on the boards.
With the loss, Quinnipiac finishes the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 5-4 record. They return to exclusive MAAC play Thursday, January 2nd when they play host to Iona at 7:30 p.m. The match up will be broadcast live on SNY.
Vincent Simone will be chronicling Quinnipiac’s move to the MAAC and helping cover the conference this season for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone