Quinnipiac University Bobcats (12-10, 5-6 NEC) at
Monmouth University Hawks (7-17, 5-6 NEC)
Saturday, February 4, 2012 – 7 p.m.
MAC – West Long Branch, N.J.
QU Last Five: 3-2
MU Last Five: 4-1
Men's Basketball Travels To Monmouth On Saturday Night
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team, now triumphant in four of its last five games, returns to the hardwood on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Bobcats (12-10, 5-6 NEC) are set for a crucial NEC match-up against the surging Monmouth University Hawks (7-17, 5-6 NEC) at the MAC in West Long Beach, N.J. The two teams are currently tied for sixth place in the conference standings.
All-Time Against Monmouth
The 27th meeting between the two programs will not only separate them in the NEC standings, but will also break an all-time deadlock. The Bobcats hold a 13-13 mark with the Hawks; though have fared very well over the past few seasons. QU has won eight of the last 10 meetings and is currently riding a four-game winning streak.
Scouting The Hawks
First-year Head Coach King Rice and the Hawks endured a difficult stretch to open the 2011-12 campaign. However, Monmouth bounced back nicely and has won four of its last five games, including a 58-56 overtime win at Central Connecticut last weekend. Most recently, MU used a strong second half to overcome a three-point halftime deficit and defeated Sacred Heart on Thursday night. Three Hawks finished with double-figures in the scoring column, led by 15 points from freshman Andrew Nicholas. Offensively, junior guard Jesse Steele leads the Hawks on the season, averaging 12.5 points per game. The Hawks ranks eighth in the conference in scoring offense (64.5) and last in scoring defense (76.7). However, during their current hot streak, MU is averaging 68 points per game, while allowing just 62 during the five-game stint.
Last Time Against Monmouth
Quinnipiac handed Monmouth a five-point loss in their last meeting, as the Bobcats collected a five-point triumph at the Bank last year. Three Bobcats scored in double-figures, including 13 and 11 from Ike Azotam and James Johnson. The Bobcats controlled the glass, 48-23, behind a game-high 17 from Justin Rutty. Overall, QU outshot MU, 41.1 percent (23-56) to 40 percent (20-50) and doubled up the Hawks in the paint, 32-16.
On The Air
Saturday's game will be broadcasted online through Hawk Vision and can be heard live on AM 1220 WQUN by clicking the appropriate links posted on www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com. Bob Mortali 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 FDU
Ike Azotam completed another double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds on Thursday night, as the Bobcats topped Fairleigh Dickinson, 65-48, at Stratis Arena. The Bobcats held the hosting Knights to 32 percent from the floor and 7.7 percent from behind the arc en route to their sixth road win of the season. The Bobcats hauled in 45 rebounds and limited the Knights to just 30 for a plus-15 edge. QU collected 15 of them on the offensive end, which resulted in 12 second-chance points, and held FDU to three points on an extended possession. The Bobcats also owned the paint, 30-22.
Just Like Ike
Ike Azotam leads the Northeast Conference and is 26th in the nation in rebounding (9.9 per game), and leads the NEC and is tied for eighth in the country in offensive rebounding (4.1 per game). Azotam posted his 11th double-double of the season with his performance against FDU on Thursday and moved closer to fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. Azotam has reached double-figures in two statistical categories 13 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).
Johnson Eyes Carl Miazga
James Johnson netted 10 points against the Knights on Thursday, moving closer to 11th place on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,569 career-points, is 32 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.
Approaching A Rookie Record
Ousmane Drame has been a force on the glass in his rookie season for the Bobcats. He is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game this year, a mark that ranks him ninth in the league and first amongst the NEC's freshman class. With his 10 boards on Thursday, Drame now resides just nine rebounds behind the QU Division I rookie record. Ike Azotam set the mark with 166 of them last season.
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 (17.4) 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 148 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 25 times. In 40 of the 148 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 10 with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 38-2 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 9-1 record with plus-20.
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 15.6 second-chance points per outing through 22 games this season. Opponents have been held to just 8.3 second-chance points per game, which includes holding BU, SHU (12/3) and FDU to just three. Furthermore, the Bobcats have registered at least 15 second-chance points 15 times this season, boasting 20 points or more on four separate occasions.
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.
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.
On Deck: Rivalry Week
The Bobcats return to action next week with a home-and-away series with Central Connecticut. QU plays host to the Blue Devils on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and then heads to New Britain on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu