The men’s basketball team lost to Quinnipiac on Thursday, defeated Farleigh Dickinson on Sunday, and are now 9-16 overall and 4-8 in the Northeast Conference (NEC).
The Bobcats (10-13, 6-5) beat the Hawks 79-63 behind 18 points from both Ike Azotam and Shaq Shannon.
Quinnipiac opened the game with an 11-0 run in 3:09. MU scored its first points on a layup by Jesse Steele, but the Bobcats answered immediately with a couple of baskets to take a 15-2 lead.
“They started the game seven for seven from the field and we couldn’t recover from that,” head coach King Rice said. “I feel bad for our kids because they have been working hard, but just haven’t been able to get over the hump. But we are going to continue to work and continue to try to get better.”
The blue and white narrowed the lead to seven at 15-8, but they never got any closer the rest of the night. A dunk by Stephen Spinella, free throws by Marcus Ware and a layup by Ed Waite accounted for their 6-0 run, but they couldn’t put anything together after that.
The Bobcat lead ballooned to 27 points with 11:21 remaining in the game. From there, the Hawks outscored Quinnipiac 24-13, but it was a little too little, a little too late.
Azotam, the preseason All- NEC selection, was nearly flawless shooting throughout the night. He made eight of his nine shots from the field and connected on both of his foul shots.
Steele led the Hawks in scoring with 13 and Waite was right behind him with 12. Steele was five of 10 from the field, two of four from beyond three-point range. Waite was four of nine from the field and grabbed three rebounds.
Freshman Tyrone O’Garro scored eight points and led the team with eight rebounds.
The Hawks bounced back on Sunday afternoon to beat Farleigh Dickinson and complete the season-sweep on their in-state rival 80-76. Steele scored a career-high and led MU with 28 points. Waite and Dion Nesmith both scored in double figures as well.
“I am proud of Ed, Dion and Jesse for being the older guys on the team and really stepping up to lead us today,” Rice said. “I am proud of all of our guys for making free throws down the stretch, and I hope that is going to jump start us to put a few together.”
The game was close throughout, with the Hawks’ biggest lead standing at six and the Knights’ (7-18, 2-10) largest lead was seven.
FDU had a seven-point lead with 7:05 remaining in the first half at 24-17. Waite made a couple of free throws to cut the lead to five. After trading baskets and five points from Nesmith, Steele drilled a three and gave MU its first lead of the game, 29-28 with 3:33 left before half.
A Spinella dunk before half and Steele layup 16 ticks into the second frame gave the Hawks their biggest lead of the game at 38-32. The Knights quickly turned it around and led 46-43 with 15:22 remaining.
Farleigh Dickinson opened up a seven-point lead after a Dylan Moody three with 12:02 on the clock, Knights ahead 54-47. A jumper by Christian White, tip-in by Max DiLeo and layup from O’Garro cut the lead to one.
Kinu Rochford made a basket for the Knights to give them a 56-53 lead.
Steele made a jumper and two free throws to put MU back on top 57-56. Rochford made another shot at 6:22 to give FDU their final lead of the game.
All knotted up at 64, the Hawks put together a run. Five straight points had the blue and white leading 69-64 with 1:34 to go.
Mustafa Jones made a three with 27 seconds left to cut the MU lead to one.
A free throw from Nesmith and two from Spinella put the game away at 80-76.
After setting a career-high 27 points last week against Bryant, Steele scored 28 in the win. He was eight of 16 from the field and five of nine from three-point range.
Waite recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks. Nesmith scored 14 and was 10 of 11 from the free-throw line.
MU returns home this week for home games on Thursday against LIU Brooklyn and Saturday against St. Francis (Brooklyn).
PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography