January 20, 2012

Men's Basketball Looks For Season-Sweep At Bryant On Saturday

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (9-9, 2-5 NEC) at
Bryant University Bulldogs (2-16, 1-6 NEC)
Saturday, January 21, 2012 – 4 p.m.
Chace Athletic Center – Smithfield, R.I.

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Bobcats Look For Season-Sweep At Bryant On Saturday
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (9-9, 2-5 NEC) will look for its fifth win against the Bulldogs since they joined Division I of the NCAA. The Bobcats handed Bryant an 11-point loss in their first meeting of the season, a game that featured four Bobcats in double-figures. Tip-off for the backend of the series is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 21 at the Chace Athletic Center in Smithfield, R.I.

All-Time Against Bryant
The Bobcats are 41-17 all-time against the Bulldogs; a rivalry that dates all the way back to the 1966-67 campaign. However, in the DI era the series offers a better competitive balance between the two schools. Quinnipiac holds a 4-3 advantage since 2007, which also includes a 2-0 record in when playing in Rhode Island.

Scouting The Bulldogs
Bryant recently picked up its first conference win of the season, a result that snapped a 12-game slide. The Bulldogs overcame a seven-point deficit with less than seven minutes to play to knock off Saint Francis (Pa.), 59-56, two weeks ago. Sophomore Alex Francis, a 6-foot-6 forward out of Harlem, N.Y., led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds. Since then, the Bulldogs have dropped two-straight after traveling to Wagner and Mount St. Mary's. Offensively, Francis leads the team with 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, which is good enough for seventh and eighth, respectively, in the NEC. The Bryant backcourt consists of Frankie Dobbs, Dan Calandrillo and Raphael Jordan, a junior-trio that combined for 22 points against Central Connecticut on Thursday. Sophomore Corey Maynard was starting and bringing in 13 points per game but has missed the past three games with an injury. Defensively, the Bulldogs rank among the league's bottom four in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense.

Last Time Against Bryant
Jamee Jackson led all scorers with a career-high 21 points to lead the Bobcats past Bryant, 83-72, at the TD Bank Sports Center. The QU triumph came due in large part to turning defense into offense. The Bobcats forced 14 turnovers which resulted in 22 points on the other end. That statistic was coupled with 19 second-chance points on 21 offensive rebounds, two determining facets of the game. In addition, Quinnipiac dominated the boards, 45-25, and connected on 47.5 percent of its field goal attempts.

On The Air
Saturday's game will be broadcasted online through Bryant Bulldogs 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 and Bob Tipson providing color commentary. Fans can also tune into live stats as well.

Last Time Out Against Sacred Heart
Dave Johnson tossed in a team-high 18 points on Thursday night, but the Bobcats were outlasted by Sacred Heart, 78-75, at the William H. Pitt Center. Quinnipiac lost the lead with 6:23 left in the game and couldn't convert on key possessions down the stretch, leaving the Bobcats with their sixth loss by five points or fewer on the season. Second-half field goal defense proved to be the difference in the game. SHU converted on 58.3 percent of its shots attempts in the frame, which also included 5-of-6 from long distance. Quinnipiac controlled the boards throughout the contest, 45-34, and an edge in second chance points, 14-9. 25 of their rebounds came on the offensive end for the Bobcats.

Scoring At The Point
Dave Johnson has found a nice rhythm offensively over the last five games. He is averaging 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and five assists per outing, which also includes setting and then matching a new career high of 18 points. He is shooting 43 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the free-throw line.

Glad To Be Back
Jamee Jackson recently returned to the Bobcats' lineup on Thursday night after being sidelined with an injury for nearly a month. Jackson contributed with nine points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes on the hardwood. The Bobcats went 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the NEC in his absence.

Johnson Joins Exclusive Group
James Johnson netted 16 points on Thursday night against Sacred Heart and became just the 13th player in history to cross the 1,500-point plateau. Now with 1,513 points, he is just eight points shy of former teammate Justin Rutty's total of 1,521. Johnson also ranks third on the Division I all-time scoring list.

Making Adjustments
Under Head Coach Tom Moore's tutelage, QU seems to make the necessary adjustments when playing a team for the second time around. The Bobcats are 21-11, a .657 winning percentage, over the last four years in the backend of the regular-season twinbill. This also includes six wins in which the team follows a loss in the first meeting.

Among The Elite
Quinnipiac has once again established itself as a national power on the boards. The Bobcats are tied for the national lead in offensive rebounds per game (16.1), are second in rebounds per game (43.4) and third in rebounding margin (10.4). 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 144 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 25 times. In 38 of the 144 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 10 with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 36-2 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 9-1 record with plus-20.  

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.

61
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.

Sensational Sophomore
Ike Azotam leads the Northeast Conference and is 27th in the nation in rebounding (9.8 per game), and leads the NEC and is tied for 15th in the country in offensive rebounding (3.7 per game). Azotam posted his ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds against LIU Brooklyn on Jan. 7. He 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 14.8 second-chance points per outing through 18 games this season. Opponents have been held to just 8.7 second-chance points per game, which includes holding BU and Sacred Heart to just three on Dec. 1 and 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 two-week span 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.

On Deck
The Bobcats return home for a pair of NEC games next weekend. QU hosts Mount St. Mary's (7 p.m.) on Thurs., Jan. 26, before taking on Wagner (2 p.m.) on Sat., Jan. 28.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu