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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (1-1) vs.
Navy Midshipmen (2-1)
Saturday, November 19, 2011 – 2:00 p.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.
Quinnipiac Hosts Navy
The QU men's basketball team returns to the hardwood on Saturday, November 19 with a non-conference showdown against Navy. The meeting marks the second time that the two programs face off, with the Midshipmen taking the series-opener in Annapolis, Md. on November 30, 2009. The game is set for 2 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center, located on the York Hill Campus of Quinnipiac University.
Scouting The Midshipmen
Navy endured its first setback of the young season on Wednesday, November 16, when the Saints of Siena College prevailed in a 65-56 victory. J.J. Avila recorded a third straight double-figure scoring game with a 19-point, seven-rebound, three-assist effort. Jordan Sugars became the ninth player in school history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds, as the senior forward totaled eight points and nine rebounds; giving him career totals of 1,051 points and 508 rebounds. Offensively, the Midshipmen are off to blistering start, connecting on over 50 percent from the floor thus far.
On The Air
Saturday's game can be seen live on Quinnipiac Bobcat 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, with Bill Mecca and Bob Tipson providing color commentary. Live stats will also be available.
Last Time Out Against Yale
In their return to TD Bank Sports Center, senior guard James Johnson registered a game-high 25 points and sophomore forward Ike Azotam recorded his second consecutive double-double, as the Bobcats knocked off New Haven County foe, Yale University, in their home-opener on Tuesday night. Quinnipiac controlled the boards, 54-41, including 19 on the offensive end and held Yale to just 27 percent shooting for the game. Eight members of the team registered a figure in the scoring column, while Alex Jackson joined Azotam with double-digits in the rebounding category.
Lil' Help On Offense
Junior transfer Garvey Young is set to return to the line-up on Saturday afternoon. Sidelined by injury, Young brings two years of experience from the University of Vermont, where he averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds as a freshman and sophomore.
Ike Azotam posted his third career double-double against Fairfield on Nov. 11, and followed that outing with a career-day against Yale. He matched a career-high with 17 points and set a new career-high with 18 boards against the Bulldogs. Four days earlier at Connecticut 6 Classic, he recorded team-bests in points (17) and rebounds (10) in 35 minutes on the hardwood. Amongst NEC active leaders in career double-doubles, Azotam now ranks seventh in the league, sitting just one behind two players tied with five.
QU held Yale to just 26.8 percent shooting overall and 22.6 percent in the second half of play. The Bobcats have not had a more dominant display of defense since the 2008-09 campaign, when they limited the Terriers of St. Francis (N.Y.) to 25.4 percent shooting overall and just 21.9 percent in the first half.
Climbing Up The Ladder
Senior James Johnson granted the Bobcats a much-needed boost offensively, as the senior guard poured in 25 points, going 8-of-20 from the field, including 3-of-7 from behind the arc. With the outburst, Johnson is now 22 points away from Robert Vacca for 17th in the all-time career scoring category.
Right Back At It
The Bobcats grabbed 54 rebounds in their home-opener against Yale on Nov. 15. QU nabbed 50 or more boards in six games last season, including a program Division I record 60 against Lehigh on Dec. 7, 2010. 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 years prior 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.
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 four active Northeast Conference players with 12 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bobcats return to action on Tuesday, November 22 with their first true road game of the season. QU heads down to Washington, D.C. for a non-conference affair against American University. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu