January 10, 2012

Men's Basketball Opens Four-Game Road Trip At RMU Thursday Night

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (8-7, 1-3 NEC) at
Robert Morris University Colonials (12-5, 3-1 NEC)
Thursday, January 12, 2012 – 7 p.m.
Charles L. Sewall Center - Moon Township, Pa.

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QU Heads To Keystone State For Showdown With RMU
The Bobcats' schedule presents another daunting task on Thursday, January 12 in Moon Township, Pa. The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (8-7, 1-3 NEC) will take on Robert Morris University (12-5, 3-1) at 7 p.m. in the Charles L. Sewall Center. The last time the Bobcats made the haul to RMU, QU came out on top with an 87-79 victory back in February of 2010. 

All-Time Against Robert Morris
The Bobcats hold a 9-16 record all-time against the Colonials. Despite trailing in the series, QU and RMU have split their last four meetings.

Scouting The Colonials
Robert Morris, who was ranked second in the NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll, enters this match-up having won five of its last seven games. Most recently, the Colonials endured their first NEC setback at Central Connecticut this past weekend. The Blue Devils held RMU to just 53 points on 30 percent shooting in a battle that featured two unbeaten teams in league play. Junior Velton Jones, a 6-foot guard out of Philadelphia, leads the team offensively bringing in 15.3 points per game, an average that includes a 38 point outburst at James Madison. Sophomore Coron Williams also scores in double-figures (11.7 per game), as the 6-foot-2 guard shoots nearly 42 percent from long distance. However, the Colonials are a team relies on defense to win games. RMU leads the conference in scoring defense (60.5 points per game) and field goal defense percentage (.406).  

Last Time Against RMU
Last season, James Johnson poured in 13 points and Dave Johnson added 10 points to go along with nine assists, but Robert Morris outlasted QU, 64-62, in the NEC Tournament Semifinals at the TD Bank Sports Center. Justin Rutty had nine points and 10 rebounds in the contest to become the Northeast Conference's all-time leading rebounder (1,025). The Colonials outshot the Bobcats, 48.1 percent (25-52) to 43.6 percent (24-55) from the floor and 40.0 percent (6-15) to 28.6 percent (4-14) from long range. Quinnipiac took a 66.7 percent (10-15) to 47.1 percent (8-17) edge from the free-throw line. Quinnipiac out-rebounded Robert Morris, 41-25.

On The Air
Thursday's game will be broadcasted online through RMU Colonials TV and can be heard live on AM 1220 WQUN by clicking the appropriate links posted on www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com. Fans can tune in and listen to Bob Mortali live with the play-by-play call or follow live stats as well.

Last Time Out Against LIU Brooklyn
The Bobcats nearly erased a 13-point deficit late in the second half on Saturday afternoon, but could not overcome one of the Northeast Conference's top teams in LIU Brooklyn at the TD Bank Sports Center. Ike Azotam 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 finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Garvey Young and Zaid Hearst added 10 points apiece. Freshman Justin Harris, who recently returned to the lineup after missing several games with an injury, fared well with nine points and eight rebounds. 

61
The Bobcats set a new QU Division I program rebounding record and the nation's sixth highest rebound total of 2011-12 with 61 rebounds against LIU Brooklyn on Jan. 7. It marked just the second time that the team has ever corralled 60 rebounds in a game, breaking the previous high of 60 which was set last year against Lehigh. QU has reached 50 rebounds twice thus far in 2011-12, with the other coming against Yale (54) on Nov. 15. The Bobcats had six 50-rebound games last season, 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 pulled down 50 rebounds in a game 14 times in Tom Moore's five 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.

Everyone Deserves A Second Chance…Except Them
Quinnipiac is averaging 15.5 second-chance points per outing through 15 games this season. Opponents have been held to just 8.7 second-chance points per game, which includes holding BU to just three on Dec. 31. Furthermore, the Bobcats have registered at least 15 second-chance points 10 times this season, boasting a season-high of 22 on two separate occasions.

Johnson Inches Closer To Rutty
James Johnson's 28 points against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Jan. 5 moved him ahead of Bill Romano (1,450) for 13th on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,467 points, also improved his status among the QU Division I scoring leaders as well. He sits in third for the category and remains 54 points away from former teammate Justin Rutty's point total of 1,521.

Rebounding Margin Factors In
Rebounding has become the identity of the Bobcats under the direction of Head Coach Tom Moore. Through 141 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 24 times. In 37 of the 141 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 10 with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 36-1 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 9-1 record with plus-20.  

Among The Elite
Quinnipiac has once again established itself as a national power on the boards. The Bobcats lead the nation in offensive rebounds per game (17.7) and are second in rebounds per game (45.3) and fourth in rebounding margin (11.6). 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 18th 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 ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds against LIU Brooklyn on Jan. 7. He currently ranks top 10 nationally in the category and has moved into a tie for fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. Azotam has reached double-figures in two statistical categories 11 times for the Bobcats, sitting alongside of Bryant's Alex Francis. He also has the nation's sixth best rebounding performance (18 rebounds against Yale, Nov. 15) and 11th best scoring performance (32 against Niagara, Dec. 22).

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.

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.

On Deck
QU will remain in Pennsylvania for its next contest and travel over to Loretto, Pa. for a game against Saint Francis. The two teams square off on Saturday, January 14 in the second game of a doubleheader. The QU women's team will take on the Red Flash at 1 p.m. followed by the men's game at 4 p.m.  

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu