January 28, 2012

Late Free-Throw Sends Wagner Past Men's Basketball, 51-50

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HAMDEN, Conn. – Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) recorded his 10th double-double of the season on Saturday afternoon, but the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team was upended by Wagner College, 51-50, at the TD Bank Sports Center. With 4.6 seconds showing on the clock, WC's Kenneth Ortiz made the first of two free-throw attempts, which proved to be the difference in the final outcome. With the loss, the Bobcats fall to 11-10 overall and 4-6 in the Northeast Conference.

Azotam collected 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds, both top figures in the game. Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) added nine points and James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) chimed in with eight points, five rebounds and three steals. Four other Bobcats finished with four apiece.

Trailing by five points with 5:18 remaining, the Bobcats settled in and put together a 7-2 run over the next two minutes. Azotam capped off the mini surge with a layup underneath, a rally that featured tallies from Hearst, Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) and James Johnson. The scoreboard read 50-50 with just 2:36 left in regulation.

Unfortunately for the home team, Azotam's layup would be the last two points for the Bobcats. The two teams exchanged empty possessions until the final half-court set of the game. Wagner controlled the ball for the final 60 seconds of the game, after prolonging its possession with a key offensive rebound. After a series of timeouts, Ortiz drove to the lane in the waning seconds and drew a two-shoot foul with 4.6 left on the clock.

Ortiz made one of two from the charity stripe, giving the Seahawks all they would need for the road triumph. Dave Johnson's last second heave from just over the half-court line came up short, leaving the Bobcats with their third loss at the Bank.

For the game, Wagner outshot Quinnipiac 44.2 percent to 28.8 percent from the floor, 80 percent to 16.7 percent from behind the arc and 81.8 percent to 71.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Despite being among the nation's best in turnover margin, QU totaled only eight compared to 14 from the Seahawks. The Bobcats controlled the glass, 40-31, and turned 21 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points. Quinnipiac also owned the paint, 32-26.

Latif Rivers led the Seahawks with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting in the game. Wagner, now 17-4, 8-2 in league play, plays host to Robert Morris and Saint Francis (Pa.) next weekend.

The game also featured Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness weekend, a nationwide annual event to raise awareness about the fight against cancer. Both teams participated for the cause.

QU returns to the court on Thursday, Feb. 2 with a Northeast Conference clash at Fairleigh Dickinson. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. For all the latest news, scores and highlights pertaining to the men's basketball program, visit www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu