2011 Connecticut 6 Classic First For Men's Basketball

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0) vs.
Fairfield University Stags (0-0)
Friday, November 11, 2011 – 5:30 p.m.
Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, Conn.
Third Annual Connecticut 6 Classic

2011 Connecticut 6 Classic First For Men's Basketball
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team will kick off the 2011-12 campaign on Friday, November 11, 2011 in the annual Connecticut 6 Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The Bobcats drew the middle game of the tournament, taking on Fairfield University at 5:30 p.m. The CT 6 is covered by the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network's Radio and Television (CPTV) and will feature two other games throughout the day. Sacred Heart and Hartford open the tournament at 3 p.m. and Yale and CCSU conclude the event at 8 p.m. in the nightcap. The Bobcats are 2-0 in the classic since it began in 2009.  

First Time For Everything
Despite being only 30 miles apart from each other, the Friday afternoon matinee marks the first meeting for the two programs. On December 7, 1951, the men's basketball junior varsity teams met for a contest in Hamden, Conn. The Stags prevailed in a 64-56 decision. 

Scouting The Stags
Fresh off a 25-win season and a berth to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) last season, Fairfield is in search of similar success with eight returners, inclusive of four starters. The Stags won the 2010-11 regular season title with a 15-3 mark in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, but suffered a loss to St. Peter's College in the MAAC tournament. After accepting a bid into the NIT, Fairfield moved on to the second round after a 62-60 win over Colorado State, before being eliminated by Kent State. The Stags return their top two scorers from a year ago. All-MAAC First Team honoree, Derek Needham, is back for his junior year and already has his name embedded in the record books. He averaged a team-best 14.1 points per game last season and then proceeded to surpass the 1,000 point plateau late in the campaign. Also returning to the squad is a seven-footer from Mansfield, Conn. Senior Ryan Olander led the team in rebounding at 6.8 boards per game and finished behind Needham in the scoring column with just over 10 points per contest.  

One More Time Around
Junior guard James Johnson emerged as a go-to scorer and a lethal three-point threat. The floor general joined Justin Rutty on the all-league first team in 2010-11, averaging a team-best 16.1 points to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He shot a team-best 81.4 percent from the free-throw line and 38.5 percent from long range. Johnson's 84 three-point field goals made are the second-most in program history, trailing only Rick Barry's 99 in 1994-95. Johnson provided single-game heroics on several occasions, hitting seven three-pointers each against Niagara, Robert Morris and Bryant. Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment was his eight-point outburst in the final 57 seconds of regulation against Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 4. Johnson hit a pair of three-pointers, stole the ball with less than five seconds remaining, streaked down court and made a runner in the lane in the final seconds to clinch the victory.

In Good Company
Entering the 2011-12 season, James Johnson finds himself on a shortlist in one particular category. Johnson is one of five active Northeast Conference players with 10 or more 20-point outings. Furthermore, he joins nine athletes who have scored 30 or more points in a game during their careers.

Johnson & Johnson
Joining James Johnson in the back court will be Dave Johnson, who once again provided a spark off the bench last season. The diminutive guard contributed 5.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game. Perhaps the highlight of his season came at rival Central Connecticut. In a game that would likely decide the No. 2 seed in the NEC Tournament and the accompanying home-court advantage in two tournament games, Johnson scored a career-high 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line in a one-point victory, 68-67, in New Britain. A true point guard, Johnson has become known for his quick dishes through miniscule passing lanes. 

Newcomers With Knowledge
Transfers Garvey Young and Austin Alecxih combine for three years of Division I basketball experience. Young, a junior from the University of Vermont, averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds as a freshman and sophomore. Alecxih, a sophomore from UNC Asheville, played in 14 games in the 2009-10 season. 

Our Turn
The duo of Jamee Jackson and Ike Azotam will look to form one of the more formidable inside tandems in the Northeast Conference this season. The twosome had the opportunity to learn from perhaps the most dominant big man in the history of the Northeast Conference in Justin Rutty, and is now prepared to step out of his shadow. 

Jackson averaged 6.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game as a sophomore. Quick off his feet, his blocked shots often led the Bobcats' fast break and resulted in game-changing momentum in 2010-11. In his first game without Rutty due to an injury to the senior mentor, Jackson poured in 20 points and added five rebounds in a 72-70 victory at Monmouth. Included in the career-high point production was a free throw to put the Bobcats on top for good.

Azotam's production as a freshman can best be quantified by comparing his numbers to those of Rutty as a freshman. While Rutty posted 5.1 rebounds per game, including 2.29 per game on the offensive glass, Azotam grabbed 5.4 boards, including 2.35 offensive rebounds per game last season. Azotam saw action in 31 of 32 games for the Bobcats as a freshman, starting six times. He averaged 5.1 points and blocked 13 shots. He compiled two double-doubles, including career highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds, Feb. 9 against Sacred Heart.

Height Isn't Everything…But It Certainly Helps
Coach Tom Moore has reloaded underneath, bringing in a trio of trees to continue Quinnipiac's dominance on the boards. Freshmen Justin Harris, Marquis Barnett and Ousmane Drame stand at 6-foot-8 or better, all with tremendous rebounding capabilities. 

Bobcats Continue Winning Ways
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team continued to establish a winning tradition under Head Coach Tom Moore in 2010-11, winning more than 20 games and advancing to a national postseason tournament for the second straight year. The Bobcats won 22 games en route to a home game in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, the first home national postseason tournament game for the Bobcats in Division I program history. Included in the 22 wins was a milestone victory against the University of Rhode Island on Dec. 11 at the TD Bank Sports Center. The victory signified the Bobcats' first against an Atlantic-10 program. 

Cleaning The Glass
The Bobcats' success in 2010-11 was once again thanks in large part to supremacy on the boards. Quinnipiac finished first in the nation in offensive rebounding (16.3), second in rebounds per game (42.5) and fourth rebound margin (+9.3). All three marks led the Northeast Conference, while the Bobcats also led the league in rebounding defense (33.2), assists per game (15.56) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.25). Quinnipiac also finished second in scoring offense (71.7), scoring margin (+4.3) and defensive rebounds per game (26.25) and third in field goal percentage defense (.419). Rutty led the league in rebounding average (9.4) and offensive rebounding average (4.04), while Johnson made a league-best 2.63 three-point field goals per game.    

QU Plays In CollegeInsider.com Tourney
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team played host to the University at Buffalo in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on March 14. The game was the first Division I postseason contest of 2011, and the only Division I game being played on March 14. The Bobcats fell to the Bulls, 75-68.

Johnson Enters Unchartered Territory
With 1,218 career points through the end of his junior season, James Johnson has scored more points in his first three seasons than any other Bobcat in QU's 12-year Division I history. Justin Rutty's 1,158 had been the prior high mark, while Rob Monroe '05 is the only other Bobcat to total 1,000 prior to his senior year with 1,096. 

Bobcats Honored By NEC
Justin Rutty and James Johnson were named to the All-NEC First Team by the league's coaches, the conference office announced March 1. The award was the third straight for Rutty and the first for Johnson. Tom Moore has now placed a player on the All-NEC First Team in each of his four years in Hamden, and has had two on the team in each of the past two years.

Johnson's Record-Breaking Season
James Johnson connected on 84 three-point field-goal attempts in 2010-11, the most by a Quinnipiac player at the Division I level and second-most all-time. The only player in Quinnipiac history to make more three-pointers in a single season was Rick Barry '95 in his senior season, when he made 99 trifectas. 

Another Impressive QU Rebounding Stat
The Bobcats grabbed at least 50 rebounds in six games last season, including a program Division I record 60 against Lehigh on Dec. 7. The last time came on Feb. 26, when the Bobcats grabbed 54 boards against Fairleigh Dickinson. Quinnipiac had three 50-rebound games in all of 2009-10, and never had three 50-rebound games in 11 prior seasons at Division I. Quinnipiac has corralled 50 rebounds in a game 12 times in Tom Moore's four years at QU. In nine prior years at Division I, QU had just five 50-rebound games, with only two coming against teams classified at Division I at the time of competition.

Rutty Sets New QU D-I Field Goals Record
Justin Rutty connected on his 600th career field goal at Sacred Heart, Feb. 14, becoming the Quinnipiac Division I record holder in career field goals made. Rutty (647) jumped ahead of Bill Romano '02 (599).

Not Even Close
Quinnipiac outrebounded 25 of 32 opponents and tied another in 2010-11. Included in the dominance was the outrebounding of the Bobcats' last five opponents, Monmouth, Fairleigh Dickinson, Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris and Buffalo, by a combined 234-142 margin. The Bobcats followed a +25 game against Monmouth, 48-23, with a +28 performance, 54-26, against FDU. The +28 rebound margin is a season high. The last times out, QU out-rebounded the Mount, 43-24, Robert Morris, 41-25, and Buffalo, 48-44.

Twenty Twice
Quinnipiac has won 20 games in each of the past two seasons under Tom Moore, the only 20-win seasons in QU Division I history.

Rutty Renaissance
Justin Rutty reverted back to 2010 NEC Player of the Year form with 17 points and 17 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass, against Monmouth last season. He followed with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 26 and 22 points and 16 rebounds against Mount St. Mary's, pushing his career total to 41 double-doubles, a QU Division I record.

Iron Bo
With a start against Sacred Heart, Feb. 14 last season, James Johnson eclipsed Kason Mims' QU Division-I record 88-game consecutive starts streak. Johnson has started each of Quinnipiac's 96 games to begin his career. His 72nd consecutive start broke Jared Grasso's '02 program record for consecutive starts (71) from the outset of his Bobcats' career at Division I. Johnson became just the eighth freshman in QU Division I history to start his collegiate debut, and started all 31 of Quinnipiac's games in 2008-09, joining just 19 other freshmen in the nation to start every game their team played.

Doing More With Less
QU led the nation in offensive rebounds per game (16.3) and was second in rebounds per game (42.5) despite having the sixth-least height in the nation. According to kenpom.com, the Bobcats were 340th of 345 teams in the nation in average height (74.7 inches).

Bobcats Helping Bobcats
The Bobcats were first in the NEC at 15.56 assists per game, good for 23rd in the nation. Their 1.25 assist-to-turnover ratio also led the NEC and was 31st in the nation.

Johnson & Johnson No Turnover Solution
James Johnson (2.33) and Dave Johnson (2.27) finished third and fourth in the NEC in assist-to-turnover ratio last year. James ranked 34th in the nation, while Dave was 42nd. James ranked 14th in the NEC at 3.50 assists per game, while Dave was 15th at 3.47.

Bo Knows The 1,000 Mark
James Johnson became the 35th player in Quinnipiac history and the ninth at Division I to reach the 1,000-point plateau, Jan. 22, at Mount St. Mary's in last year's campaign. In the Bobcats' last game of the season, he passed Troy Adams '89 (1,214) for 18th place and stands 47 points behind Robert Vacca '73 (1,265) with 1,218 career points.

Shoot Better And Win
The Bobcats were 17-0 last season when outshooting their opponent. By contrast, they were 5-10 when being outshot.

Bo Knows (Insert Statistical Category Here)
James Johnson's name was listed among the statistical leaders in the NEC in eight of 13 categories kept by the league in 2010-11. He led the league in three-point field goals made per game (2.63) and was third in both steals per game (1.59) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.33). He ranked fifth in scoring (16.1), seventh in both free-throw percentage (.814) and minutes per game (33.94), and 11th in three-point field-goal percentage (.373) and 14th in assists per game (3.50).

Rutty Moves Up QU Career Scoring List
With 1,521 career points, Justin Rutty finished his career ranked 12th on the Quinnipiac career scoring list and second on the Quinnipiac Division I scoring list. With 17 points against Monmouth, Feb. 24, Rutty moved past Bill Romano '02 (1,450) on both the all-time and Division I lists.

Lookin' Up At QU
The Bobcats were in the top five in 13 of 19 statistical categories kept by the NEC last season, including the top spot in six. They were first in rebounding offense (42.5), rebounding defense (33.2), rebounding margin (+9.3), assists (15.56), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.25) and offensive rebounds (16.25). QU ranked second in scoring offense (71.7), scoring margin (+4.3) and defensive rebounds (26.25). They ranked third in field-goal percentage defense (.419) and fourth in both blocked shots (3.50) and turnover margin (+0.69). QU ranked fifth in three-point field-goal-percentage defense (.336). 

Three Streak Extended
With seven three-pointers against Buffalo its final 2010-11 game, QU extended its streak of making at least one three-pointer in each of the last 316 contests. The last time QU didn't knock down a three was Dec. 19, 2000, at Dartmouth (0-11). 

Johnson Dishes Out Number 300
James Johnson dished out his 300th career assist, Dec. 22 at Niagara last season. He now stands at 371 career assists, good for fourth on the QU Division I list.

21 For The Third Time
The Bobcats dished out a season-high 21 assists for the third time last season, Feb. 26 against FDU. Dave Johnson led the way with six dimes.

Second Half Trifecta Tossing
Led by James Johnson's 12-for-17 showing, the Bobcats shot 54.5 percent (18-33) from long distance in the second halves of a three-game road stretch at Sacred Heart, Bryant and Central Connecticut last season. Johnson made 4-of-6 in the second half at SHU, before making 5-of-6 at Bryant and 3-of-5 at CCSU.

Dave Dials Up Career Day
Dave Johnson scored a career-high 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor and 6-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line in the Bobcats' 68-67 victory at Central Connecticut, Feb. 19.

No. 3 Likes The 3, 7 Times, Times 3
James Johnson connected on 7-of-11 three-point field goals at Bryant last season, his third seven-trifecta outing of the campaign. Johnson made 7-of-11 at Niagara on Dec. 22 and 7-of-13 against Robert Morris on Jan. 27.

Ho Hum, Bo's Clutch Again
James Johnson knocked down four second-half three-pointers, including two in the final minutes to give Quinnipiac the lead for good, as the Bobcats defeated Sacred Heart, Feb. 14, in Fairfield a year ago.

I'll Take All Three of These
The Bobcats responded to a 0-for-8 performance from long range in the first half at Sacred Heart with a 7-for-12 showing in the second half last year. None was bigger than James Johnson's with 1:47 left to break a 48-48 tie and put the Bobcats on top for good.

If At First You Don't Succeed...
The Bobcats also turned 19 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points against Sacred Heart, Feb. 9. Quinnipiac out-rebounded the Pioneers, 44-25, including a 19-6 edge on the offensive glass.

Double-Double
Ike Azotam compiled a double-double, Feb. 9 against Sacred Heart. Azotam had a career-high 16 points and 13 rebounds, his second of the campaign.

Johnson Steals Milestone
With five steals Nov. 20 against UVM last season, James Johnson became the 13th QU player all-time and fifth at Division I to compile 100 career steals. Ironically, the five steals tied Johnson's career high, originally set Dec. 21, 2008, against the same UVM team on the same Lender Court before a regional television audience on NESN. Johnson now stands at 146 career steals, passing Bobcats' great Rob Monroe '05 (137) for sixth all-time and second at Division I at QU.

Fifty Fifty
Quinnipiac shot 51.9 percent (28-54) at St. Francis (N.Y.), Feb. 3, and also grabbed 50 rebounds. The Bobcats also shot 50 percent, Jan. 29 against Saint Francis (Pa.), giving them back-to-back 50-percent games for the first time last season. Quinnipiac eclipsed the 50-percent mark five times this season. 

.333 Three Times
The Bobcats held St. Francis (N.Y.) to 33.3 percent (21-63) shooting, Feb. 3. The defensive effort was the third of its kind last season, as Quinnipiac also held Bryant (17-51) and Niagara (21-63) to the same percentage.

First-Round Knockout
In 2010-11, Quinnipiac started its Jan. 29 victory against Saint Francis (Pa.) on a 22-0 run. Seven different Bobcats scored a point and QU had three blocks and three steals in the opening burst.

Getting Defensive
The Bobcats grabbed a season-high 38 defensive rebounds, Feb. 3 at St. Francis (N.Y.) last year. All of James Johnson's career-high nine boards were on the defensive end. Quinnipiac's previous season-high was 37, established in a 60-rebound effort against Lehigh, Dec. 7.

So Glad To See The Boys Getting Along
The Bobcats tied a season-high with 21 assists and 10 different Quinnipiac players scored a point in a game for the first time last season, Jan. 29 against Saint Francis (Pa.).

Dave Dishes Out 10 Dimes
Dave Johnson handed out a career-high 10 assists in the Bobcats' 75-55 victory against Saint Francis (Pa.), Jan. 29. In two games in the starting line-up, Johnson averaged 8.0 assists per game and had an 8.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Shadowing Shannon
James Johnson held Saint Francis (Pa.) guard Umar Shannon, the NEC's fourth-leading scorer entering the game, to just three points on 1-for-5 shooting and four turnovers without an assist, Jan. 29. Shannon was coming off a 30-point outburst, Jan. 27 at Sacred Heart.

Johnson Takes NEC Player of the Week
James Johnson was named NEC Co-Player of the week after averaging 24.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in a pair of Quinnipiac victories against Robert Morris and Saint Francis (Pa.). He made 10-of-19 three-pointers in earning his second career NEC award. 

Eighty Up
The Bobcats had won 18 straight games when scoring 80 points or more, prior to a 90-80 loss at Wagner, Jan. 20.  

Alright On The Road
The Bobcats won their first five road games last season, becoming the first team in NEC history to win its first five road contests. The streak was snapped, Jan. 17, as the Bobcats fell at Brown.

Depth The Difference
Quinnipiac's bench outscored Central Connecticut's reserves, 23-4, Jan. 15, 2011.

Chairman of the Boards
Ike Azotam had his first double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Bryant, Jan. 13, last season.

Jamee Jamee Jamee
Jamee Jackson blocked three shots on five different occasions last season, including consecutive games against Fairleigh Dickinson and Bryant, Jan. 8 and 13, respectively. 

Jackson's Potential Pours Out At Monmouth
Playing without Justin Rutty on the opposite block due to injury, Jamee Jackson stepped up in a big way with a career-high 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting, Jan. 6 at Monmouth. He also made what proved to be the game-winning free throw with 14.3 seconds left.  

QU Can Knock Down the Three, Too
Led by James Johnson's seven trifectas, QU hit 12 three-pointers, Dec. 22 at Niagara, the most by a Quinnipiac team since the Bobcats knocked down 12 in Tom Moore's debut in Hamden, Nov. 11, 2007, a double-overtime thriller that QU won against Hartford, 85-79.

Johnson Feelin' It From Long Range
James Johnson extended a red-hot three-point shooting streak with a 7-for-11 performance from beyond the arc at Niagara. The seven three-pointers, most by a Bobcat since Van Crafton '07 knocked down seven, Dec. 7, 2006 at Mount St. Mary's, pushed Johnson's percentage to 56.7 percent (17-30) over the four-game stretch.

Quinnipiac Picks Up Signature Victory
The Bobcats picked up perhaps the most impressive win in program history when they defeated Rhode Island, 73-66, Dec. 11 at the TD Bank Sports Center. The win is the first in program history over an Atlantic-10 school. 

Rutty Grabs NEC Rebounding Crown
With 10 rebounds March 6 against Robert Morris last year, Justin Rutty passed Central Connecticut's Ron Robinson (1,022) for the NEC's all-time rebounding crown. Rutty finished his career with 1,032 boards. 

Rutty Enters Exclusive 1,000-1,000 Club
With 16 rebounds, March 3 against Mount St. Mary's, Justin Rutty became just the third player in QU history to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. Rutty finished his career at 1,521 points and 1,032 rebounds. Rutty joined Harold Driver '78 (1,813 points, 1,147 rebounds) and Ed Skwara '69 (1,159 points, 1,082 rebounds) in the exclusive club.

Free 'N' Easy
Justin Rutty, a career 48.8 percent free-throw shooter entering the Dec. 7 game against Lehigh, went 11-for-11 from the charity stripe against the Mountain Hawks. The streak reached 14 consecutive against URI, before he missed his first free throw at Niagara on Dec. 22.

New (Le) High Rebounding Mark
The Bobcats established a new program D-I record with 60 rebounds, Dec. 7 against Lehigh. The prior record of 58 rebounds came twice in recent years - a double-overtime game against Hartford, Nov. 11, 2007, and a Jan. 2, 2005 overtime contest against Division II Longwood.

Jump and Run
The Bobcats began five of their first six games on a run last season. They scored the first nine points against Yale, before scoring seven straight against Hartford. QU scored five straight to open against Vermont, before scoring the first four and 15 of the first 17 at Dartmouth. The Bobcats also scored six of the first eight points against Maine, and five straight against Mount St. Mary's. 

Block Party
Six different Bobcats accounted for eight blocks against Lehigh, Dec. 7. The eight-block performance was only the fourth of its kind for Quinnipiac at Division I, and the first since the 1999-2000 season. The Braves blocked a program Division I record nine shots against Yale, Dec. 3, 1999, while registering eight blocks at Fordham and Long Island, Dec. 21 and Jan. 17, respectively, in the same season. 

Defense Offensive...Then Gets Defensive
After a first half against Maine in which the Bobcats allowed the Black Bears to shoot 52.2 percent (12-23), the Bobcats buckled down in the second half, holding Maine to 25.9 percent (7-27) from the floor. 

Owning the Offensive Boards Against UMass
A year after grabbing a program Division I-record 28 offensive rebounds at UMass, Dec. 2, 2009, the Bobcats tied their second-greatest total on the offensive glass with 24 against UMass, Dec. 1, 2010. Quinnipiac also took 24 offensive caroms against Yale, Nov. 16, 2009. Justin Rutty led the way with seven offensive boards in the latest installment against UMass.     

Not Up In Here!
Jamee Jackson had three second-half blocks against Maine, each leading to Bobcats offensive production. After his first block just less than two minutes in, James Johnson hit a three on the ensuing possession. Immediately following his block at the 11:53 mark, Dave Johnson nailed one from long range. Finally, following his rejection at the 5:08 mark, James Johnson hit a jumper on the next time down on offense.

A Lot To Like With Ike
Ike Azotam went 7-for-7 from the floor for 15 points to go along with seven rebounds last year, Nov. 23, at Dartmouth. The 100 percent performance was the first of five or more attempts for the Bobcats since Karl Anderson went 5-for-5 at Monmouth on Feb. 21, 2008. For his effort, Azotam was named the NEC Co-Rookie of the Week on Nov. 29.

Moore Wins
With 23 wins in 2009-10, including 15 NEC victories, the Bobcats set a new program record. The marks edge the 1999-2000 QU team (18-10, 12-6 NEC) for the most wins at D-I, and passed the 1972-73 and 1979-80 teams for the all-time program record.

Moore of the Same
Head Coach Tom Moore has won the season opener in each of his four years at QU, the first three coming against Hartford, while the most recent came this season against Yale. Prior to Moore's arrival to Hamden, no Quinnipiac team had won its first game of the season during the school's Division I era. Teams that have had Moore serving on the coaching staff have won 11 consecutive season openers. The last time one of Moore's teams didn't win its first game was Nov. 11, 1999, when defending National Champion and top-ranked UConn was upset by Iowa in the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic. None of Quinnipiac's other five coaches all-time won their first three season openers, and only Burt Kahn won as many as four straight at any point. Kahn won six straight from 1967-68 through 1972-73.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu