QU Hosts LIU Brooklyn In Big Conference Showdown Saturday At 2 p.m.

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (8-6, 1-2 NEC) vs.
Long Island University Brooklyn Blackbirds (9-6, 3-0 NEC)
Saturday, January 7, 2012 – 2 p.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.

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QU Hosts LIU Brooklyn In First 2012 NEC Home-Game
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (8-6, 1-2 NEC) will welcome NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll favorite Long Island University Brooklyn (9-6, 3-0 NEC) to the TD Bank Sports Center for its next game. The Bobcats are scheduled to host the Blackbirds on Saturday, January 7 for a 2 p.m. matinee. QU enters the match-up winning six of its last eight contests, a streak that includes four wins on the road.

All-Time Against LIU
The Bobcats hold a 15-11 record all-time against the Blackbirds; a series that saw a Bobcats' 10-game winning streak snapped a year ago. Fans can expect a closely-played contest though, as last year's showdown was the only game in the last 11 seasons that featured a double-digit final margin.

Scouting The Blackbirds
LIU Brooklyn enters this match-up having won seven of its last nine games, including four straight. Most recently, the Blackbirds handed Sacred Heart its second conference loss of the season in Fairfield on Thursday night. Preseason NEC All-Conference selections Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere each posted double-doubles in the triumph. Boyd leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 16.1 points and 9.57 rebounds per game, while fellow front court member Olasewere is right behind him with 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per outing. LIU presents a daunting challenge for the Bobcats' defense as the squad leads the NEC in scoring (77.7 points per game) and field goal percentage (46 percent). However, QU's pressure defense could create some problems for that high powered offense. Long Island leads the Northeast Conference in turnovers per game (18.0).

Last Time Against LIU
Last season, James Johnson had a game-high 24 points and Justin Rutty added 20 points, but the Bobcats were defeated by Long Island, 84-74, at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. For the game, Long Island outshot Quinnipiac, 48.4 percent (30-62) to 38.5 percent (30-78) from the floor and 42.9 percent (9-21) to 25.0 percent (4-16) from long range. Quinnipiac edged LIU, 55.6 percent (10-18) to 48.4 percent (15-31) from the free-throw line. The top two rebounding teams in the NEC tied each other on the boards with 47 apiece.

On The Air
Saturday's game will be broadcasted online through 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 Bill Mecca providing color commentary. Fans can also tune into live stats as well.

Last Time Out Against St. Francis (N.Y.)
James Johnson posted a game-high 28 points on Thursday evening, but Bobcats surrendered a tough loss to St. Francis (N.Y.), 73-72, at the Pope Physical Education Center in Brooklyn Heights. Stefan Perunicic's free-throw capped off a three-point play to put the Terriers in front by one with 5.1 seconds left. The Bobcats couldn't convert in the waning seconds, granting SFC a big win on its home court. Quinnipiac outshot St. Francis, 44.8 percent to 41.1 percent, from the floor and outscored the Terriers off-the-bench, 16-8. The Terriers finished 72 percent (15-25) of their free-throws compared to just 60 percent (21-29) of the Bobcats, and controlled the boards, 39-38. It's just the second game of the season that QU has been outrebounded.  

Johnson Moves Ahead Of Bill Romano
James Johnson's 28 points against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Thursday night moved him ahead of Bill Romano (1,450) for 13th on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,452 points, also improved his status among the Division I scoring leaders as well. He sits in third for the category and remains 69 points away from former teammate Justin Rutty's point total of 1,521.

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 (17.1) and in rebounds per game (44.1) and fourth in 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)

Sensational Sophomore
Ike Azotam leads the Northeast Conference and is 15th in the nation in rebounding (10.5 per game), and leads the NEC and is 10th in the country in offensive rebounding (4.0 per game). Ike Azotam posted his eighth double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds against Colgate on Dec. 28. He currently ranks top 10 nationally in the category and has moved closer to fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. Azotam has reached double-figures in two statistical categories 10 times for the Bobcats, just one behind Alex Francis of Bryant University. He also has the nation's sixth best rebounding performance (18 rebounds against Yale, Nov. 15) and 10th best scoring performance (32 against Niagara, Dec. 22).

Rebounding Margin Factors In
Rebounding has become the identity of the Bobcats under the direction of Head Coach Tom Moore. Through 140 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 24 times. In 36 of the 140 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.   

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.  

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.  

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 will head to the Keystone State for pair of Northeast Conference match-ups. The Bobcats head to Robert Morris on Thursday, January 12 for a 7 p.m. start, followed by a short trip to Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday. Tip-off against the Red Flash is slated for 4 p.m.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu