Not even the debut of Gio McLean could lift Quinnipiac to their first win of the young season.
The Bobcats dropped an 83-70 decision at Vermont Wednesday evening despite the presence of McLean in a Quinnipiac uniform for the first time. The talented guard posted 18 points, suiting up for his first game in over a year.
McLean was forced to sit out the 2014-15 season due to a transcript scandal at his former school Westchester Community College and was suspended for the Bobcats’ season-opening loss to Sacred Heart in the Connecticut 6 due to playing in a non-sanctioned summer league game.
McLean slotted into the starting point guard role Wednesday night and quickly made his presence felt. The former Oklahoma commit picked up five points before the first media timeout and displayed an ability to drive to the basket unlike any other guard on Coach Tom Moore’s squad.
“I probably played him too may minutes for his first game back and thought he looked tired a few times,” Moore said of McLean following Wednesday’s loss. “We are putting a lot of responsibility on him right now. Probably too much, but we are trying to figure out roles on the perimeter. He’ll be a huge piece of what we do going forward. It was great to have him back.”
Following Quinnipiac’s season-opening loss last Friday, Moore made reference to the importance of McLean in Quinnipiac’s offensive game plan this season.
“A lot of what we did in the preseason has been based on establishing Gio as a first or second option,” Moore said after the Connecticut 6.
McLean’s 18 points led the Bobcats. He was 6-for-15 overall and 4-for-8 from behind the arc, but turned the ball over four times in 33 minutes on the court. Dimitri Floras, who started the season opener in McLean’s absence, added 13 points, going 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
The Catamounts entered Wednesday night 42-6 on their home court at Patrick Gymnasium, though one of those losses came against Quinnipiac two years ago. They struck back with efficient revenge, shooting 58.3% from the field, ending the night at 1.15 points per possession while holding Quinnipiac to 0.94 PPP.
Vermont ended the night with four players in double figures, led by Trae Bell-Haynes’ 21 points. Ethan O’Day followed close behind with 19, while Darren Payen and Nate Rohrer added 14 and 13 points respectively.
Vincent Simone covers Quinnipiac, the MAAC, and Hofstra among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.