Quinnipiac University Bobcats (9-7, 2-3 NEC) at
Saint Francis University (Pa.) Red Flash (3-13, 2-3 NEC)
Saturday, January 14, 2012 – 4 p.m.
DeGol Arena – Loretto, Pa.
QU Concludes Trip To Pennsylvania At Saint Francis On Saturday Afternoon
The Bobcats (9-7, 2-3 NEC) will wrap up their two-game road trip in Pennsylvania with a Northeast Conference match-up against Saint Francis University (3-13, 2-3 NEC) on Saturday, January 14. The day will feature a women's and men's basketball doubleheader, as the QU women's team will take on the Red Flash at 1 p.m. The two men's teams are slated for a 4 p.m. tilt.
All-Time Against Saint Francis (Pa.)
The Bobcats hold an impressive 17-7 record all-time against the Red Flash. Furthermore, QU holds an 8-2 mark over the last 10 games, which also includes winning five of the last six meetings. However, in their last trip to Loretto the Red Flash pulled off the upset in a five-point decision.
Scouting The Red Flash
Saint Francis opened the season with a strong showing against Virginia Commonwealth, a 2011 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight finalist. Junior standout Umar Shannon poured in a game-high 26 in the six-point loss, however, suffered a season-ending knee injury prior to the team's next contest. Since then, the team has garnered just three wins in 15 tries and is currently riding a six-game losing streak entering Saturday's match-up. Scott Eatherton, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Hershey, Pa., has stepped up to carry the load on offense without Shannon in the lineup. Eatherton is averaging 14 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, two figures that are about three points higher in conference competition. Also joining Eatherton in double-digits for the season is Anthony Ervin, a junior guard from Chesterfield, Va., averaging 11 points and 3.8 rebounds per outing. The Red Flash rank fourth in the NEC in scoring defense, but are 10th in scoring offense.
Last Time Against SFU
Last season, the Bobcats opened the game with a 22-0 run and cruised to a 75-55 Northeast Conference victory against Saint Francis (Pa.) at the TD Bank Sports Center. Four current members of the roster played key roles in the triumph, led by senior guard James Johnson. Johnson finished with 11 points, Jamee Jackson had 10, Dave Johnson totaled five points, six rebounds, 10 assists and three steals and Ike Azotam added nine points and six rebounds. For the game, the Bobcats outshot the Red Flash, 52.5 percent (31-59) to 43.6 percent (17-39) from the floor, out-rebounded the Red Flash, 37-22, and dished out a season-high 21 assists. Quinnipiac also controlled the paint, outscoring the Red Flash, 46-14, in the lane.
On The Air
Saturday's game will be broadcasted online through SFU Athletics 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 Robert Morris
James Johnson, Dave Johnson and Ike Azotam led a potent attack on Thursday night, as the Bobcats overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat Robert Morris, 78-76, at the Charles L. Sewall Center. James Johnson led all scorers with 22 points, as the senior guard went 7-of-12 from the floor, dished out four assists and grabbed three rebounds. Dave Johnson, in his strongest performance to date, added a career-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He pulled down six boards and handed out five dimes in 33 minutes on the hardwood. Azotam finished with 17 points and six rebounds, even with his minutes limited due to foul trouble in the first half.
Nothin' But Nylon
The Bobcats made a season-best 58.5 (24-41) percent of their field goals against the NEC's best defensive team in Robert Morris on Jan. 12. It marks the highest field goal percentage since the 2009-10 season, when the Bobcats nailed 60 percent against Sacred Heart. Their performance against the Colonials included a season-high 7-of-10 (70 percent) from behind the arc and a season-high 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) from the floor in the second half. James Johnson went 4-of-4 from long range in the second stanza as well.
Johnson 11 Away From 1,500 Plateau
James Johnson's 22 points against Robert Morris on Jan. 12 gives him 1,489 points for his career with the Bobcats. Johnson recently moved ahead of Bill Romano (1,450) for 13th on the all-time scoring list, after tossing in 28 against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Jan. 5. He ranks third on the QU Division I all-time scoring list and remains 32 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 142 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 24 times. In 37 of the 142 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.
The Bobcats set a new QU Division I program rebounding record and the nation's seventh 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.
Among The Elite
Quinnipiac has once again established itself as a national power on the boards. The Bobcats are second in the nation in rebounds per game (44.2) and offensive rebounds per game (17.1) and fourth in rebounding margin (11.1). 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)
Ike Azotam leads the Northeast Conference and is 21st in the nation in rebounding (10.3 per game), and leads the NEC and is 10th in the country in offensive rebounding (3.9 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 closer to fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. Azotam has reached double-figures in two statistical categories 11 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 12th best scoring performance (32 against Niagara, Dec. 22).
Everyone Deserves A Second Chance…Except Them
Quinnipiac is averaging 15.2 second-chance points per outing through 16 games this season. Opponents have been held to just 8.8 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.
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.
The Q remains on the road for two NEC contests against two teams in the New England region. On Thursday, Jan. 19, the Bobcats head over to Sacred Heart University, followed by a trip to Bryant University on Saturday, Jan. 21. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. against the Pioneers and 4 p.m. in Rhode Island.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu