HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team posted a new Division I program record with 61 rebounds on Saturday afternoon, but could not overcome one of the Northeast Conference's top teams in LIU Brooklyn at the TD Bank Sports Center. The Bobcats, now 8-7 overall and 1-3 in the NEC, nearly erased a 13-point deficit late in the second half. However, QU failed to convert on key possessions down the stretch, leaving LIU with their fourth consecutive conference win.
Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) led the way for the Bobcats, as the power forward recorded his ninth double-double with team-highs in points (17) and rebounds (11). James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Garvey Young (Washington, D.C.) and Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) added 10 points apiece. Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.), who recently returned to the lineup after missing several games with an injury, fared well with nine points and eight rebounds.
The highly anticipated match-up featured a fast-paced first-half, where neither team gained a significant advantage. The opening 20 minutes saw 17 lead changes and 13 tie scores from the two evenly matched squads. Harris and Johnson led the attack with nine and eight points, respectively, as the rivals entered the locker room knotted up at 37 apiece.
The Bobcats pulled down a season-high 42 rebounds in the frame, 18 of them on the offensive end. The Blackbirds were led by Jamal Olasewere, who poured in 15 points in the half.
After the intermission, with 15:27 showing the clock and the score tied 45-45; LIU boasted the game's first substantial lead with a 28-15 run over the next 10 minutes. Kenny Onyechi capped off the surge with a layup underneath with just under six minutes to play for a 71-58 LIU lead.
Quinnipiac refused to go away though, as Azotam would lead a late charge for the hosting Bobcats. Azotam recorded six points in a 9-0 run that closed the gap to within four points. Unfortunately, LIU managed to maintain its advantage down the stretch, disallowing QU back into the game. The Bobcats cut their deficit to three points with 14 seconds left after a pair of free-throws from Hearst, but Olasewere solidified the triumph with a free-throw on the other end.
The 61 rebounds for the Bobcats were just five short of matching the NEC record as well. Nine players tallied at least four rebounds and two offensive rebounds in the game. Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) added five points and four assists and Alex Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) finished with five points and four boards. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) pulled down seven rebounds.
LIU went 27-of-67 (40.3 %) from the field and 19-of-27 (70.4 %) from the free-throw line. The Bobcats finished 30-of-77 (39 %) from the floor and 13-of-21 (61.9 %) from the charity stripe. 78 of the 154 total points were scored in the paint.
Olasewere led the Blackbirds with 25 points and 11 rebounds. LIU will play host to Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday night.
QU returns to action on Thursday, January 12, 2012 when the team begins a four game road trip at Robert Morris. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. All information pertaining to the men's basketball program, please visit www.quinnipiacbobcats.com.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu