February 1, 2012

Men's Basketball Heads To The Garden State; Set For Fairleigh Dickinson Thursday Night

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (11-10, 4-6 NEC) at
Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (2-19, 1-9 NEC)
Thursday, February 2, 2012 – 7 p.m.
Stratis Arena – Hackensack, N.J.
QU Last Five: 2-3
FDU Last Five: 1-4

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Basketball Travels To The Garden State For Fairleigh Dickinson
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (11-10, 4-6 NEC) will open the new month with a two-game stint in New Jersey. The Bobcats closed out January winning two of their last three games, a stretch that included two overtime triumphs and most recently a mere one-point setback to Wagner. Looking ahead now, QU heads to Hackensack, N.J. for a 7 p.m. tilt on Thursday, February 2 at Fairleigh Dickinson. The Knights will host the Bobcats in Stratis Arena.  

All-Time Against Fairleigh Dickinson
The Bobcats will meet the Knights for the 30th time in a match-up that dates back to the 1954 campaign. The Knights hold a 16-13 advantage in the all-time series, though the Bobcats have won five straight and eight of their last nine meetings.

Scouting The Knights
Fairleigh Dickinson enters this match-up with a 2-19 record overall and a 1-9 mark in conference action. The Knights have played better of late however; as the team picked up its first win at Bryant last week. Lonnie Robinson led the attack for the Knights, as the junior guard poured in a game-high 25 points and grabbed six rebounds in the three-point victory. FDU then took a short trip to Central Connecticut State on Saturday, but dropped a seven-point decision to the Blue Devils at Detrick Gymnasium. Four Knights scored in double-figures for the game, led by graduate student George Goode's 17 points. Overall, FDU has endured a difficult time on the offensive end thus far. The Knights have only scored 80 or more points in one game this year and rank second-to-last in scoring offense. On the other side of the ball, FDU ranks eighth in scoring defense, but a respectable fourth in field goal percentage defense.

Last Time Against FDU
The Bobcats used a balanced attacked that featured four players in double-figures, as QU captured a 71-60 victory over the Knights last year. Justin Rutty collected a double-double in the outing, while James Johnson added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. For the game, the Bobcats out-rebounded Fairleigh Dickinson, 54-26, including 21 on the offensive glass. Quinnipiac took a 22-4 advantage in second-chance points and a 36-10 edge in points in the paint. Quinnipiac outshot the Knights, 44.6 percent (29-65) to 31.6 percent (18-57) from the floor. FDU took a 42.9 percent (9-21) to 30.0 percent (3-10) edge from long range and a 93.8 percent (15-16) to 45.5 percent (10-22) advantage from the free-throw line.

On The Air
Thursday's game will be broadcasted online through FDU Knights 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 Bob Tipson providing color commentary. Fans can also tune into live stats as well.

Last Time Out Against Wagner
With 4.6 seconds showing on the clock, Wagner's Kenneth Ortiz made the first of two free-throw attempts, which proved to be the difference in a 51-50 victory for the visiting Seahawks. After the missed free-throw on the backend, Dave Johnson's last second heave from just over the half-court line was off target, leaving the Bobcats with their third loss at the Bank on the season. Ike Azotam collected 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds, both top figures in the game. Zaid Hearst added nine points and James Johnson chimed in with eight points, five rebounds and three steals. Four other Bobcats finished with four apiece.

Fun Fact
The Bobcats scored 568 points last month, incredibly the same combined number of their opponents. QU and its opponents averaged 71 points per outing through eight contests.

Double-Double
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 10th in the country in offensive rebounding (3.9 per game). Azotam posted his 10th double-double of the season with his performance against Wagner on Jan. 28 and moved closer to fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. Azotam has reached double-figures in two statistical categories 12 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).

Trio Fares Well In January
Ike Azotam, James Johnson and Dave Johnson found a nice rhythm offensively during the month of January. Azotam led the way, registering 17.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting at a 52.8 percent clip. James Johnson poured in 16.9 points, hauled in 4.6 rebounds and nabbed a team-high 1.7 steals in 39 minutes per game. Dave Johnson averaged 12 points, 5.4 rebounds and four assists per outing, which also included three performances with his career-high of 18 points.

Johnson Eyes Carl Miazga
James Johnson netted eight points against the Seahawks on Jan. 28, moving closer to 11th place on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,559 career-points, is 42 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.

Second Time Around
Quinnipiac converted 21 offensive rebounds in back-to-back games against Mount St. Mary's (1/26) and Wagner (1/28). The nation's best team in the category turned the extra effort into 44 points through the 80 minutes of play. The Bobcats are averaging 15.8 second-chance points per outing through 21 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 15 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 Jan. 26. QU held the Mount to 36 percent (9-25) shooting, which included a 16-2 run following the intermission.

Overtime Success
The Bobcats prevailed in their second consecutive overtime game against Mount St. Mary's on Jan. 26. 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.

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 (17.5) and are second in rebounds per game (43.7) and 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 147 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 25 times. In 39 of the 147 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.  

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 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.

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 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. 

On Deck
The Bobcats remain in New Jersey for its next opponent. QU takes on Monmouth on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu