November 14, 2011

Rivalry Continues: Bobcats, Bulldogs Square Off At TD Bank Sports Center On SportsNet New York (SNY)

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-1) vs.
Yale University Bulldogs (1-0)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 – 7:00 p.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.

Rivalry Continues; Bobcats, Bulldogs Square Off For 2011-12 Home-Opener
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team returns to action Tuesday Nov. 15 when it meets New Haven County foe Yale for a 7 p.m. showdown at the TD Bank Sports Center. The game can be viewed live on SportsNet New York (SNY). The Bobcats and the Bulldogs have only faced off three times, all three games going in favor of QU. The series opened in 1999, where Quinnipiac walked away with an 87-69 victory in the Phoenix Classic at Hartford Civic Center. Two years ago, the Bobcats traveled over the town border to Payne Whitney Gym and edged out a 71-64 triumph at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Last season, the Bobcats outlasted Yale at the Connecticut 6 Classic, 84-75, in the final game of the tournament.

  

Scouting The Bulldogs
In their first game of the season, the Bulldogs endured the daunting task of controlling CCSU's Ken Horton, an All-Northeast Conference Preseason selection. Now, they face the return of senior James Johnson and a Bobcats' front court who registered a plus-eight in the rebounding column against formidable Fairfield team. Horton posted 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting, but Yale escaped with a four-point win in the CT 6 Classic. The Bulldogs' defense held the Blue Devils to 36 percent from the floor, a statistic that probably proved to be the difference. Greg Mangano led the way with 23 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Reggie Willhite also added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and six steals for the Bulldogs. Yale also tossed in seven from behind the arc.

On The Air
Saturday's game can be seen live on SNY-TV and heard live on AM 1220 WQUN through a link posted on www.quinnipiacbobcats.com. The voice of the Bobcats, Bill Schweizer, will have the TV play-by-play call for SNY-TV, with Bill Mecca providing color commentary. For local residents, local channels are as followed: Comcast - 65, Cox Cable - 62 and DirectTv - 639. Bob Mortali and Bob Tipson will have the radio call for WQUN. Live stats will also be available.

Last Time Out Against Fairfield
The men's basketball team used a 24-9 run to erase a 15-point deficit in the second half against the Stags, but couldn't complete the comeback bid as the Bobcats dropped their season-opener, 72-60, in the middle game of the Connecticut 6 Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Quinnipiac continued its dominance on the boards, controlling a 43-35 advantage, including 19-9 on the offensive glass, but struggled to keep pace with Fairfield's offense. The Stags knocked down 10-of-19 from downtown and shot 45 percent from the floor. The Bobcats connected for only 2-of-9 from behind the arc and 35 percent overall.

Sophomore Sensation
Ike Azotam posted his third career double-double in his debut as a sophomore against Fairfield on Nov. 11. He recorded 17 points and a game-high 10 boards in 35 minutes on the hardwood. Amongst NEC active leaders in career double-doubles, Azotam ranks sixth in the league, sitting in a tie with three other players.

No Stage Fright Here
In their first career game with a Bobcats' uniform draped over their shoulders, freshmen Nate Gause and Zaid Hearst sparked the QU offense against Fairfield on Nov. 11. Gause dropped 12 points, including 2-of-4 from behind the arc and nabbed three rebounds in his inaugural game. Zaid Hearst made his first career start in the season-opener and fared well in the back court. Hearst had six points, seven rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes of action.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

On Deck
The Bobcats return to action on Saturday, November 19 against Navy at the TD Bank Sports Center. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@Quinnipiac.edu