HAMDEN, Conn. - Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) and Lance Brown (Teaneck, N.J.) both compiled double-doubles as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team held off intrastate rival Sacred Heart, 59-54, Wednesday night at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 16-8 (8-5 NEC), while the Pioneers fall to 9-15 (4-9 NEC).
The double-double of a team-high 16 points and 13 rebounds was the second of the year for Azotam, while Brown's 13 points and 13 rebounds were both season highs in his first career double-double. Nine of Brown's rebounds came in the second half. Both Azotam and Brown collected seven offensive boards, as the Bobcats outrebounded Sacred Heart, 44-25, including a 19-6 discrepancy on the offensive glass. Deontay Twyman (Olney, Md.) also contributed 15 points, 11 in the second half, for Quinnipiac.
Shane Gibson led all scorers with 21 points for Sacred Heart. His six rebounds were also a team high. Louis Montes scored 11 points before fouling out.
A back-and-forth first half that saw 10 lead changes and five ties resulted in a one-point Sacred Heart edge at the half after Montes converted in the lane as time expired in the first half. Azotam had a loud 11 points and nine rebounds, five on the offensive glass, for the Bobcats in the first half. Gibson countered with 11 points of his own for Sacred Heart. The Pioneers converted on 5-of-11 first-half three-point attempts.
Sacred Heart opened the second half on a 10-1 run to extend to its largest lead of the game, 44-34, with 16:23 remaining. Jerrell Thompson put the exclamation point on the spurt with an alley-oop from Gibson.
After the teams exchanged buckets four minutes later, the Sacred Heart lead stood at nine with 12:25 remaining. But the Bobcats went on a 13-0 run covering nearly eight minutes of play to put Quinnipiac on top, 52-48. Twyman scored eight points in the run, including a three-pointer at the 6:33 mark to put the Bobcats on top for good.
The lead extended to five points on Dave Johnson's (Jackson, N.J.) free throw at the 2:15 mark, but the Pioneers made four straight free throws in the final minute to make it a one-point game with 36 seconds left. Azotam responded with the front end of a two-shot foul, with Brown grabbing the offensive board on the second and being fouled. It remained a one-possession game as Brown converted 1-of-2 free throws to make it a 57-54 Quinnipiac advantage. But Thompson couldn't connect on a three-pointer with 21 seconds left and the long rebound pushed Brown ahead of the pack for a breakaway dunk, accounting for the final 59-54 margin.
For the game, the Pioneers took a 40.4 percent (19-47) to 40.0 percent (22-55) edge from the floor, a 25.0 percent (5-20) to 21.4 percent (3-14) advantage from long range and a 64.7 percent (11-17) to 60.0 percent (12-20) edge from the free-throw line. Quinnipiac took a 23-4 advantage in second-chance points.
The Bobcats and Pioneers meet again, Monday in Fairfield. Opening tip from the Pitt Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MSG will televise the men's and women's basketball doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.