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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Huge game for Quinnipiac tonight

Assistant Sports Editor
bcloutier@nhregister.com
The quest is quite different for the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team as it heads down the stretch this season. For the past few years Quinnipiac has waged a battle for the Northeast Conference regular-season title. This year they’re just hoping to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Quinnipiac plays host to Central Connecticut State tonight at 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center in the first of two crucial contests between the two teams this week. The Bobcats (13-10, 6-6 NEC) are currently in sixth place, while Central (10-12, 7-5) checks in at fifth place, a game ahead of Quinnipiac.
“We’re in a good place right now,” Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore said. “They feel good about themselves and I’m real happy how we’ve looked defensively lately.”
Central is led by NEC preseason Player of the Year Ken Horton who is second in the conference in both scoring (19.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg). He scored 29 points in a recent loss at conference-leading Long Island. The Blue Devils have also gotten fantastic scoring from sharp-shooter Robby Ptacek (18.5 ppg) and freshman phenom Kyle Vinales (17.8 ppg) who are third and fourth in the conference in scoring.
“When you play a team with three great scorers it’s like pick your poison,” Moore said. “We usually play Horton straight up and we’ve had success against Ptacek but some of times we’ve played him he’s been injured.”
This will be Quinnipiac’s first look at Vinales, who scored a season-high 39 points against Niagara earlier in the season, but they do get back the services of forward Jamee Jackson who Moore called the best defensive player in the conference.
Quinnipiac has won five straight games in the series. More importantly, the Bobcats have won four of their last five games to climb up the NEC’s standings.
“It’s been good for us,” Moore said. “As a coach you can preach all you want about things but if they don’t see the results it’s not going to matter much. We’ve told them all along to focus on defense in the second half.
“In the past five games no team has shot over 40 percent in the second half and we’ve won four games.”
There are no easy spots the rest of the way. The Bobcats’ final six opponents are a combined 47-25 in conference play. After playing Central the Bobcats finish with Robert Morris, LIU, St. Francis (N.Y.) and St. Francis (Pa.). They’ve lost to all four teams already this season.
But they’re not shaken.
“It’s not like we’ve gotten pounded by anyone,” Moore said. “We played (the top two teams in the NEC) LiU to four points and Wagner by one. “The guys feel there’s not anyone in the league we can’t beat.”
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