HAMDEN, Conn. – Junior Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) led all scorers with a career-high 21 points on Saturday afternoon to lead the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team past Bryant, 83-72, at the TD Bank Sports Center. The triumph marked the first Northeast Conference win for the Bobcats, who improved to 4-3 in the Division I era against the Bulldogs.
Now 3-4 on the season, 1-1 in conference play, the Bobcats used a balanced attack that featured nine players in the scoring column. In addition to his 21 points, Jackson added eight rebounds and two steals to his stat line, completing his best performance of the season. James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) added 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 3-of-7 from long-distance and three assists, while Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) also chimed in with double-digits, as the junior guard poured in 11 points, going 8-of-8 from the charity stripe.
The first half featured a quick start from the Bobcats' offense, which opened the game on a 20-12 run behind efficient play in the post. With 11:34 showing on the clock, a three-point field goal from James Johnson then sparked a massive 22-2 run over the next nine minutes. Zaid Heart (Bethesda, Md.) capped off the surge with another three, granting the Bobcats their largest lead of the half at 28 points.
The Bulldogs wouldn't go away without a fight though, as the away team closed the half on a 19-5 run. Bryant knocked down five threes over the four-minute span, leaving a 47-33 score in favor of QU at the break.
Upon returning to the court after halftime, the Bulldogs picked up right where they left off and quickly cut into QU's lead. However, James Johnson quickly ended the Bulldog surge, sparking an 8-0 run over the next two minutes for a 19 point advantage.
The teams exchanged baskets down the stretch, with the Bobcat lead fluctuating anywhere from 19 to 13 points. In a last-stitch effort, the Bulldogs forced the Bobcats to make free-throws in the waning minutes, a task that the home team successfully completed. Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) and Garvey Young (Washington, D.C.) knocked down six consecutive free-throws to disallow Bryant back into the game and solidify a crucial win at the Bank.
The QU triumph came due in large part to turning defense into offense. The Bobcats forced 14 turnovers which resulted in 22 points on the other end. Coupled with 19 second-chance points on 21 offensive rebounds, QU capitalized on both facets of the game. In addition, Quinnipiac dominated the boards, 45-25, and connected on 47.5 percent of its field goal attempts.
Hearst, in his first career start for the Bobcats, made three of his seven shot attempts for seven points. Young and Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) each finished with five points and Nate Gause (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) registered four.
Alex Francis and Corey Maynard led the Bulldogs with 18 points apiece. Bryant, now 1-7, 0-2 in the NEC, did manage to make 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) from behind the three-point line.
The Bobcats return to action when they travel to play intrastate opponent Hartford on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu