January 3, 2012

Men's Basketball Resumes NEC Action At St. Francis (N.Y.) On Thursday Night

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (8-5, 1-1 NEC) at
St. Francis (N.Y.) Terriers (4-9, 1-1 NEC)
Thursday, January 5, 2012 – 7 p.m.
Pope Physical Education Center - Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. 

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QU Resumes Conference Play At St. Francis (N.Y.)
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (8-5, 1-1 NEC) will resume Northeast Conference competition on Thursday, January 5 in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. The Bobcats, now winners in six of their last seven games after defeating BU on Saturday, are set for a 7 p.m. showdown with St. Francis (N.Y.) (4-9, 1-1 NEC) on Peter Aquilone Court at the Pope Physical Education Center. QU concluded its non-conference schedule with three straight wins and is just one of three NEC teams with seven out-of-conference wins.

All-Time Against St. Francis (N.Y.)
The Bobcats hold a 10-10 record all-time against the Terriers; however, have been dominant over the past few seasons. QU is currently riding an eight game winning streak with the Terriers, a surge that dates back to the 2005-06 season. Furthermore, Quinnipiac has defeated SFC in double-figures in each of the last three meetings.

Scouting The Terriers
St. Francis (N.Y.) has endured a difficult first-half to the 2011-12 campaign, a season that began with nine straight games away from home. The Terriers are 1-3 in their last four games, most recently on the wrong end of a 79-70 final at Army. SFC's international backcourt duo of Ben Mockford and Stefan Perunicic lead a potent offense that ranks in the top half of the league. Mockford, a sophomore guard out of England, leads the team at 12.5 points per game, while the Serbia native, Perunicic, is averaging 12.1 points per outing. Defending the three will once again be a priority for Quinnipiac when behind the ball. The Terriers are second in the NEC in three-point field goals made (101) and attempted (294), connecting on nearly 35 percent from behind the arc. 

Last Time Against St. Francis (N.Y.)
Last season, James Johnson narrowly missed a double-double with 16 points and a season-high nine rebounds, as the Bobcats collected a road victory, 74-60, on Peter Aquilone Court in New York. He also dished out a team-high four assists. The Bobcats shot over 50 percent (51.9, 28-54) and outrebounded St. Francis, 50-30, accounting for their fifth 50-rebound game of the season. For the game, QU outshot the Terriers, 51.9 percent (28-54) to 33.3 percent (21-63) from the floor, 40.0 percent (4-10) to 26.3 percent (5-19) from long range and 70.0 percent (14-20) to 50.0 percent (13-26) from the free-throw line.

On The Air
Thursday's game will be broadcasted online through St. Francis (N.Y.) 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 Bob Tipson providing color commentary. Fans can also tune into live stats as well.

Last Time Out Against Boston University
Led by Ousmane Drame's second career double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds, QU mounted a tremendous comeback to erase a 13 point first-half deficit, as the Bobcats went on to defeat BU, 59-53, on Saturday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center. In a game that was televised on NESN and SNY, Quinnipiac buckled down on defense and held the Terriers to just 21 points in the second half. James Johnson totaled 16 points, to go along with four rebounds and five assists, and Zaid Hearst had 13 points and seven boards. Quinnipiac out-rebounded Boston, 43-38, 16-11 on the offensive end, and posted a season-high 10-3 advantage in blocked shots.

Among The Elite
Quinnipiac has once again established itself as a national power on the boards. The Bobcats are second in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (17.5) and in rebounds per game (44.6) and third in rebounding margin (11.7). 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)

Rebounding Margin Factors In
Rebounding has become the identity of the Bobcats under the direction of Head Coach Tom Moore. Through 139 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 23 times. In 36 of the 139 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including eight with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 35-1 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and an 8-1 record with plus-20.  

Johnson Approaches No. 13
James Johnson's 18 points against Colgate on Dec. 28 and pushed him over the 1,400-career point plateau. He is just the 14th player in the history of the program to accomplish the feat. Johnson, now with 1,424 points, surpassed Kason Mims' 1,320 mark against Hartford on Dec. 6, which also moved him into fourth place in QU's Division I scoring leaders category. He remains just 26 points away from Bill Romano (1,450) for 13th on the all-time list.

SWAT Team
Quinnipiac matched a Division I program team record with 10 blocks against BU on Dec. 31. The previous mark was set in the 2005-06 season, when the Bobcats rejected double-digits at Fairleigh Dickinson. Furthermore with his six-block performance, Ousmane Drame now sits atop the single-game blocked shots category. Victor Akinyanju and Christian Burns held the preceding mark of five, when they both accomplished the feat in that 2005-06 campaign.

Honored By The NEC
Ousmane Drame was named the Choice Hotels/NEC Rookie of the Week on Monday, January 2 by the league office. Drame put together three solid performances over the last two weeks that lifted the Bobcats to three straight wins and earned him the first rookie of the week award of 2012. He nearly posted a double-double per game during the stretch, averaging 9.7 points and 10.3 rebounds. He also averaged two blocks per game and 11 of his 20 rebounds came on the offensive end.

Double-Double Machine
Ike Azotam posted his eighth double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds against Colgate on Dec. 28. He is currently tied for eighth in the nation in the category and has moved closer to fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. He has 10 career double-doubles, just one behind Alex Francis of Bryant University. Azotam leads the Northeast Conference and is 13th in the nation in rebounding (10.8 per game), and leads the NEC and is 11th in the country in offensive rebounding (4.1 per game).

Success From The Stripe
Quinnipiac shot 90.3 percent (28-31) from the free-throw line in the win against Colgate on Dec. 28. It marked the first time that the Bobcats made 90 percent from the line in at least 15 attempts since 2007. They went 17-of-19 (90 percent) in an 88-87 win against FDU on March 1.

Backcourt Steps Up
The backcourt stepped up against the Raiders on Dec. 28, recording 68 percent of the team's total offense. James Johnson led the way with 18 points; Zaid Hearst added a career-high 16 points and Dave Johnson chimed in with 10. Garvey Young and Nate Gause combined for 10 points off the bench, as the Bobcats cracked 80 points for the third time this year.

CollegeHoops.Net Honors Ike Again
Ike Azotam was tabbed to the CollegeHoops.Net All-Northeast Conference Pre-League Play Team, announced by Jon Teitel on Dec. 28. Azotam led Quinnipiac in several statistical categories through the first 12 games. He averaged 16.3 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and one steal per outing for the Bobcats, which includes career-highs in points (32) and rebounds (18).

10 And 10 For Two
Dave Johnson and Ousmane Drame each recorded their first-career double-doubles against Niagara on Dec. 22. Johnson matched a career-high with 10 assists to go along with 13 points and Drame finished with a career-high 13 points and 10 rebounds. The duo also combined to go 13-of-14 from the charity stripe. Furthermore, Azotam was one rebound shy of joining Johnson and Drame with at least 10 in two statistical categories. Two players with double-doubles occurred last season when Ike Azotam and Lance Brown accomplished the rare feat against Sacred Heart on Feb. 9.

Human Highlight Reel
Ike Azotam poured in a career-high against Niagara on Dec. 22, a game that was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter later that evening. Azotam stole the show on the court and in the clip, as the power forward finished 13-of-18 (72 percent) from the floor, 6-of-8 from the free-throw line, grabbed nine rebounds and tallied two blocks. 

On Deck
QU welcomes NEC preseason favorite Long Island University to the TD Bank Sports Center on Saturday, January 7. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. on Lender Court.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu