Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-9, 3-5 NEC) at
Mount St. Mary's University Mountaineers (4-15, 2-6 NEC)
Thursday, January 26, 2012 – 7 p.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.
Bobcats Set For Mount St. Mary's On Thursday Night
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (10-9, 3-5 NEC) finally returns to the TD Bank Sports Center after completing its longest road trip of the season. Nearly three weeks since their last home game, the Bobcats welcome Mount St. Mary's (4-15, 2-6 NEC) to Hamden on Thursday, January 26. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Lender Court.
All-Time Against Mount St. Mary's
The Bobcats are 12-13 in the all-time series with the Mountaineers, a rivalry that dates back to the 1985 campaign. The long trek between Maryland and Connecticut seems to play a large role in the final outcome though. Quinnipiac holds a 9-4 record when playing in Hamden, which includes a 5-1 mark at the Bank.
Scouting The Mountaineers
Mount St. Mary's enters this match-up with a 2-4 mark in conference play since the turn of the New Year. The Mountaineers' defense, under the direction of first-year Head Coach Robert Burke, has been the key factor for the team this year. MSM leads the league in three-point field goal defense, ranks third in scoring defense and sixth in field goal defense. Conversely though, the Mountaineers have struggled on the other end of the floor. The Mount ranks in the bottom half of the league in scoring offense, three-point shooting and field goal percentage. Sophomore guard Julian Norfleet and senior forward Danny Thompson lead the pack, each averaging double-figures for the Mountaineers. Norfleet brings in 12.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while Thompson averages just over 10 points and 7.9 rebounds per outing.
Last Time Against The Mount
The Bobcats avenged a loss earlier in the season with a 78-59 victory in the Quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference Championship last year. Four Bobcats finished with double-digits in the scoring column, including 13 and 10 from James Johnson and Dave Johnson, respectively. The Bobcats out-rebounded Mount St. Mary's, 43-24, shot 50.0 percent (32-64) to the Mountaineers' 42.0 percent (21-50), and owned a 48-20 advantage on points in the paint and a 26-5 edge in second-chance points. Shawn Atupem had a team-high 20 points for MSM, while Julian Norfleet added nine points and five assists. However, Norfleet was held without a point in the second half.
On The Air
Thursday'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 and Bob Tipson providing color commentary. Fans can also tune into live stats as well.
Last Time Out Against Bryant
James Johnson, Ike Azotam and Dave Johnson all finished with 18 points or better on Saturday afternoon, as the Bobcats defeated Bryant in an overtime thriller at the Chace Athletic Center. The Bobcats outscored the Bulldogs 15-8 in the extra frame en route to the 78-71 NEC triumph. For the game, Quinnipiac outshot Bryant, 39.4 percent to 36.4 percent, from the floor, 21-5 on second chance points, 15-6 on points off turnovers and 26-16 in points in the paint. QU also controlled the boards, 51-34, which included 18 on the offensive end.
With their win at Bryant, the Bobcats improved to 20-9 in overtime games during the Division I era. This includes a 7-3 mark under Coach Moore and a 4-0 record in double-overtime contests.
Scoring At The Point
Dave Johnson has found a nice rhythm offensively over the last four games. He is averaging 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per outing, which also includes three performances with his career-high of 18 points. He is shooting 50 percent (20-40) from the floor and 87 percent (27-31) from the free-throw line.
Johnson Surpasses Justin Rutty
James Johnson netted 23 points on Saturday afternoon at Bryant and moved into 12th place on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,536 career points, surpassed Justin Rutty's point total of 1,521 with his stellar performance. He also moved ahead two second amongst all-time division I scorers as well.
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 (17.1) and are second in rebounds per game (43.8) and in rebounding margin (10.7). 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 145 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 25 times. In 39 of the 145 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 10 with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 37-2 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 9-1 record with plus-20.
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 22-11, a .667 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.
Nothin' But Nylon
The Bobcats made a season-best 58.5 (24-41) percent of their field goals against one of 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.
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 three times thus far in 2011-12. 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 15 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.
Ike Azotam leads the Northeast Conference and is 27th in the nation in rebounding (9.6 per game), and leads the NEC and is tied for 14th 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 two 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 19 games this season. Opponents have been held to just 8.5 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 13 times this season, boasting a season-high of 22 on two separate occasions.
The Bobcats welcome Wagner to the Bank on Saturday and then will hit the road for two games in New Jersey next weekend. Quinnipiac heads to Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday night before Monmouth on Saturday.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu