Quinnipiac University Bobcats (11-9, 4-5 NEC) at
Wagner College Seahawks (16-4, 7-2 NEC)
Saturday, January 28, 2012 – 2 p.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.
QU Last Five: 3-2
MSM Last Five: 4-1
Men's Basketball Plays Host To Wagner On Saturday
After back-to-back Northeast Conference wins, the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (11-9, 4-5 NEC) will seek its third straight on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats welcome Wagner College (16-4, 7-2 NEC) to the TD Bank Sports Center for a crucial showdown at 2 p.m. Now halfway through league play, QU looks to stay hot and make a late push in the conference standings.
All-Time Against Wagner
The Bobcats are 12-15 in the all-time series with the Seahawks. The rivalry dates back to the 1998-99 campaign when Quinnipiac began competition at the Division I level. Over the last three seasons, the Bobcats are 3-3 against Wagner, but just 1-2 at the Bank. Furthermore fans can expect a close finish, considering the last seven meetings have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
Scouting The Seahawks
The Seahawks are one of three teams with a 7-2 mark and tied for second place behind LIU Brooklyn. In addition to a strong start in conference play, Wagner fared well in what could be considered the most difficult non-conference schedule in the league. Wagner took on two Big East opponents in UConn and Pittsburgh, suffering an eight-point loss to the defending National Champions and then pulling off the upset against the Panthers. From a statistical standpoint, Wagner is second in the NEC in scoring (73.8) and scoring defense (64.2), and leads the league in field goal percent defense (.408). Three Seahawks average in double-figures, led by sophomore Latif Rivers who is scoring 15.1 points per outing. Junior Jonathan Williams brings in 13.4 points per game and senior Tyler Murray averages 12.5 points and rebounds at a 4.3 per game clip. Murray is also the NEC's most efficient shooter from long distance, making over 50 percent from behind the arc.
Last Time Against WC
James Johnson scored 24 points in the backend of the season-series, but the Bobcats were defeated by Wagner, 90-80, at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island in their previous meeting. The Seahawk triumph completed the season-sweep, leaving Wagner as the only team to defeat QU twice in the campaign. Jamee Jackson added eight points and seven rebounds, while Dave Johnson finished with six points, five rebounds and four assists. For the game, the Bobcats out-rebounded the Seahawks, 32-21, connected on 45.5 percent (25-55) of their shots, 16.7 percent (2-12) from long range and 66.7 percent (28-42) from the free-throw line.
On The Air
Saturday'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 The Mount
Quinnipiac trailed Mount St. Mary's by 15 points at the break, but mounted a furious second-half comeback to send the game into overtime on Thursday night. In the extra frame, the Bobcats controlled the added five minutes from the tip. QU outscored the Mountaineers 8-5 in overtime, behind four points from Ike Azotam, two from Dave Johnson and the final two from Ousmane 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. 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.
Second Time Around
Quinnipiac converted 21 offensive rebounds into 26 second-chance points against Mount St. Mary's on Thursday night. The Bobcats are averaging 15.7 second-chance points per outing through 20 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 14 times this season, boasting 20 points or more on four separate occasions.
Second Half Surge
The Bobcats held the Mountaineers to just nine field goals for a total of 18 points in the second half on Thursday night. QU held the Mount to 36 percent (9-25) shooting, which included a 16-2 run following the intermission.
The Bobcats prevailed in their second consecutive overtime game against Mount St. Mary's on Thursday night. With the win, the Bobcats improved to 21-9 in overtime games during the Division I era. This includes an 8-3 mark under Head Coach Tom Moore and a 4-0 record in double-overtime contests.
Johnson Eyes Carl Miazga
James Johnson netted 15 points against the Mountaineers on Thursday, moving closer to 11th place on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,551 career-points, is 50 points shy of Miazga's mark of 1,601. He recently surpassed Justin Rutty's point total of 1,521, which also moved him ahead into second amongst all-time division I scorers as well.
Steady At The Point
Dave Johnson has found a nice rhythm offensively over the last five games. He is averaging 15.2 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 nearly 50 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the free-throw line.
Ike Azotam is tied for first in 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).
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 (17.3) and are second in rebounds per game (43.9) and in rebounding margin (10.5). 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 146 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 25 times. In 39 of the 146 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.
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.
The Bobcats head to New Jersey for their final road trip of the 2011-12 campaign. QU takes on Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 2 and then Monmouth on Feb. 4. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in both affairs.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu