Quinnipiac University Bobcats (2-3) vs.
Sacred Heart University Pioneers (4-3)
Thursday, December 1, 2011 – 7:00 p.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.
Bobcats To Host Sacred Heart For NEC Opener On Thursday Night
After a difficult non-conference schedule to open the 2011-12 campaign, the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team is ready for Northeast Conference play this week. The Bobcats welcome Sacred Heart University to the TD Bank Sports Center on Thursday, December 1 for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
All-Time Against Sacred Heart
The Bobcats are 23-37 in the all-time series with the Pioneers; however, have won five straight meetings. Last season featured two very low scoring affairs, as both teams struggled mightily from the floor. In the first meeting, Ike Azotam led the Bobcats with a season-highs in points (16) and rebounds (13), as QU escaped with a 59-54 victory at the Bank. The second time around, James Johnson registered 12 points in a 55-48 triumph on Valentine's Day in Fairfield, Conn.
On The Air
Thursday's game will be aired on Quinnipiac Bobcats TV and can be heard live on AM 1220 WQUN by clicking the appropriate links posted on www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com. The voice of the Bobcats, Bill Schweizer, will have the play-by-play call, with Billy Mecca and Bob Tipson providing color commentary. Fans can also tune into live stats as well.
Scouting The Pioneers
The Pioneers have earned an above .500 start (4-3) through their first seven games of the season. Sacred Heart posted back-to-back wins to open the campaign, including a 20-point victory over Hartford in the Connecticut 6 Classic. The squad followed with tough losses to Rutgers and Richmond, but has rebounded with two wins to one loss over the last two weeks. Most recently, the Pioneers knocked off Brown to improve to 2-0 at home this year. Shane Gibson, a junior guard out of Killingly, Conn., will certainly be a name to look for on the Bobcats' scouting report. He is off to a tremendous start, averaging 16.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, including a 26-point outburst against Richmond. The front court is led by Justin Swidowski, a junior forward from Cinnaminson, N.J., who is averaging 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per outing. As a team, the Pioneers currently rank fourth in the conference in offense, scoring just fewer than 73 points per game.
Last Time Out Against Lehigh
Led by senior guard James Johnson who finished with 25 points, three additional Bobcats matched or set season-high point totals against Lehigh University on Monday night, but the Bobcats were outlasted, 86-75, at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa. Now 3-2 in the all-time series against LU, the Bobcats went 25-of-46 (44.6 percent) from the field, 20-of-31 from the charity stripe and 5-of-15 from downtown. Johnson finished 8-of-18 from the field, grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists for the Bobcats. For the first time all season, QU was outrebounded in a contest, as the Mountain Hawks controlled a 36-34 edge. Lehigh made 28-of-37 free-throw attempts, 8-of-17 from behind the arc and shot 48 percent from the floor overall.
James Johnson portrayed his offensive prowess once again at Lehigh on Nov. 28, but was also joined by three others in double-figures. Junior Dave Johnson, senior Garvey Young and freshman Ousmane Drame put together their best performances of the campaign. Dave Johnson finished with 14 points and three assists, Young added 11 points and five boards and Drame finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Two Names In Two Games
With his 25 points against Lehigh on Nov. 28, senior James Johnson has surpassed another name in the all-time career scoring leaders category. After leaping Robert Vacca for 17th on the list on Nov. 22, Johnson moved ahead of Joe Trimarchi's 1,293 points (16th) with his performance against the Mountain Hawks. Next on the list is a former teammate of Johnson's in James Feldine. Feldine left QU in 2010 with 1,320 points, now just 26 ahead of Johnson.
Junior Jamee Jackson put together his best-performance of the young season at American on Nov. 22. His line consisted of 13 points and three rebounds in a game where he connected on 50 percent of his shot attempts. He added three rebounds against Lehigh on Nov. 28, and is now just one shy of 300 for his career, a stint that already consists of 375 points.
Freshman Nate Gause granted the Bobcats a much needed spark off the bench at American on Nov. 22. Gause reset his career-high in points with 14 on 6-of-12 shooting, including 2-of-4 from behind the arc. He has now recorded double-digits in his three of his first four games and ranks 30th in the league in scoring (9.8 points per game). Fellow teammate James Johnson began his career by scoring double-digits in four of his first seven games.
Among The Elite
Quinnipiac has once again established itself as a national power on the boards. The Bobcats lead the nation in rebounds per game (44.6), and are top-10 in offensive rebounding (16.2) and rebounding margin (10.8). This marks the third consecutive season that QU has cracked the top-10 in rebounding; including a second place finish (42.3 per game) in 2010-11. (Behind North Carolina – 42.5 per game)
Through the first five games of the season, sophomore Ike Azotam is tied for eighth in the country in rebounds per game (14.3). He has posted double-doubles in four of his first five games, including careers-highs with 17 points and 18 rebounds against Yale on Nov. 15. Furthermore, with his performance on Nov. 22 at American, he has moved into sole-possession of fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. He collected his sixth career double-double, when he netted a career-high 20 points and hauled in 15 rebounds.
Depth Not An Issue
In the game against Navy on Nov. 19, all 16 members of the team saw time on the hardwood. 12 different members recorded at least one point, the first time since November 22, 2005 in a 106-57 win against Concordia. On the season, nine players are averaging more than 14 minutes per game, with three others accumulating at least seven minutes per outing.
QU held Yale to just 26.8 percent shooting overall and 22.6 percent in the second half of play on Nov. 15. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 with a quick turnaround for another NEC match-up on Saturday, December 3 at the TD Bank Sports Center. Tip-off against the Bulldogs of Bryant is set for 7 p.m. Live video, audio and stats will all be available at, www.quinnipiacbobcats.com.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@Quinnipiac.edu