By Corey Pollnow
Injuries have plagued the CCSU Men’s basketball team this season, which was only worsened Thursday when Brandon Peel went down with an injury to his left ankle in an 85-78 loss to Quinnipiac.
Coach Dickenman was pitted against his protégé Tom Moore. The two coached together for two seasons at UConn as assistants to Jim Calhoun.
Unfortunately for CCSU, Moore has come out on top in the last seven games, with the victory over the Blue Devils, Moore tallied his 100th career win.
“Brandon Peel not being in the game was a factor, but it wasn’t why we lost” said Coach Dickenman.
Quinnipiac as a team shoots a dismal 30 percent from beyond the arc, but due to CCSU playing a zone to conserve energy, the Bobcats had many open looks.
“The last few minutes it felt like we ran out of gas. Everybody knows we don’t have much depth, but we gave it all we could” said Malcolm McMillan, a sophomore guard.
Coach Dickenman made no excuses for his team, though.
“When there’s 3 or 4 minutes left in the game you can’t afford to run out of gas. You’re playing on adrenaline. Fatigue is a mental thing, don’t make it a physical thing. You have to battle through that” said Coach Dickenman.
Quinnipiac’s Shaq Shannon had missed 32 of his 46 three-pointers on the season, but that narrative was different vs CCSU. Shannon was hot from behind the arc and hit 6 of his 10 threes.
“With the zone they were daring us to make some three and trying to catch their breath” said Coach Moore.
One of Quinnipiac’s fortes is their ability to rebound. Moore’s team is 8th in the country in rebounding and the Bobcats out rebounded CCSU by a 51 to 31 margin. Ike Azotam dominated the glass for the Bobcats with 17 rebounds. Trying to contain him was a burden for the Blue Devils.
CCSU struggled at the free throw line and Coach Dickenman stomped his feet in frustration numerous times because collectively, the Blue Devils missed ten free throws. That’s out of the ordinary for the Blue Devils considering they shoot 76 percent collectively from the charity stripe.
“At one time in the season we were the number one free throw shooting team in the country out of 347 teams and we’re slipping and sliding. I don’t have the answer for it yet” said Coach Dickenman.
Kyle Vinales led CCSU in the scoring department with 32 points, but Vinales rode the pine late when the game was close because he was fatigued. Coach Howie Dickenman wasn’t pleased with his body language on the floor.
Although the game began with a tribute to Jim Calhoun, the post-game press conference with Moore spoke about Coach Dickenman’s character.
“He’s as good a person and as good a friend as you can possibly have in this business. You don’t get anybody more loyal than him,” said Coach Moore.
“I was only with him there two years at UConn, but he taught me so much in my time at UConn about how to conduct yourself as a UConn assistant. He conveyed so much pride in UConn and being an assistant and how to deal with AAU coaches, high school coaches, recruiting and how to carry yourself,” said Coach Moore.
CCSU dropped to 7-12 on the season and 3-4 in the NEC. Their next game is at Monmouth on January 31st at 7 p.m.