HAMDEN, Conn. – After playing two consecutive seasons without going into overtime, the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team collected its second consecutive victory in an extra frame, as the Bobcats outlasted Mount St. Mary's, 69-66, at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, QU improves to 11-9 overall and 4-5 in the Northeast Conference, while the Mountaineers drop to 4-16, 2-7 in the league.
The front court due of Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) and Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) led the way for the Bobcats in this one. Drame posted a career-high 15 rebounds to go along 13 points in 31 minutes of play. More importantly may have been Drame's performance behind the ball, which included taking two charges in the second half. Azotam finished with a team-high 20 points and nine rebounds in a season-high 43 minutes on the hardwood.
After falling behind by 15 points at the break, the Bobcats battled back with a 22-6 run over the first 11 minutes of the second stanza. Azotam capped off the surge with a two-handed dunk underneath, granting the home team a 50-49 advantage.
From then on, the game remained within one possession until the end of regulation. Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) put QU in front by two after knocking down one-of-two from the free-throw line with 13 ticks left. However, MSM's Kelvin Parker frantically raced down the other end and connected on a runner in the lane to tie the score at 61 apiece. James Johnson's last-second heave came up just short, leaving an extra period to decide the outcome.
For the second straight game, the Bobcats controlled the added five minutes from the tip. QU outscored the Mountaineers 8-5 in overtime, behind four points from Azotam, two from Dave Johnson and the final two from Drame. The 6-foot-9 freshman snatched an offensive rebound with 19 seconds left and calmly laid the ball up and through for a three-point lead. MSM's Julian Norfleet's fade-away three in the waning seconds was off target, leaving the Bobcats with a much-needed triumph on Lender Court.
Head Coach Tom Moore referenced two key statistics in his postgame press conference. The Bobcats recorded 26 second-chance points on 21 offensive rebounds compared to just nine and 14 from the Mountaineers. In addition, Quinnipiac held MSM to 36 percent shooting in the second half, a figure that has typically been much higher over the past few games.
James Johnson finished with 15 points, four boards and four assists. Dave Johnson added seven points, six rebounds and four assists, despite limited action in the first half due to foul trouble. Garvey Young (Washington, D.C.) chimed in with eight and Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) had six.
Norfleet led all scorers with 22 points and five rebounds for the visitors. Mount St. Mary's heads to Sacred Heart on Saturday for an NEC clash with the Pioneers.
QU returns to action on Saturday, January 28, 2012 with a crucial NEC showdown against Wagner. The game is slated for 2 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center. For all information pertaining to the men's basketball program, please visit www.quinnipiacbobcats.com.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu