WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) tossed in a game-high 18 points on Saturday night, as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team cruised to a Northeast Conference victory at Monmouth University, 71-48, at the Multipurpose Athletic Center in West Long Branch, N.J. With the win, the Bobcats have now defeated the Hawks in six straight meetings, winning five of those match-ups by double-digits.
Quinnipiac, now 13-10 overall and 6-6 in the NEC, climbed back to the .500 mark in conference play. James Johnson led the way offensively, as the senior guard finished 8-of-16 from the floor, 2-of-6 from long distance, dished out three assists and snatched one steal in the triumph. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.), Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) and Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) each nabbed eight points and combined for more than half of the team's rebounds (26). Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) joined the attack with nine points to go along with five rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
The Bobcats raced out of the gates in the first half and garnered a quick 10-point lead through the opening five minutes. James Johnson capped off the surge with a jumper from the wing, forcing first-year Head Coach King Rice into an early timeout. Every Bobcat in the starting lineup contributed with points during the stint.
For the remainder of the stanza, Quinnipiac maintained its double-digit lead and carried a 36-25 advantage into the break. James Johnson paced the potent offense with nine points in the frame. Collectively, the Bobcats connected on 48.5 percent of their shot attempts and controlled the boards, 24-14.
After the intermission, Monmouth scored the first four points of the second half to cut its deficit to seven points. However, the Bobcats weathered the quick burst and steadily regained their composure. Quinnipiac extended the margin back to double-digits and eventually reached its largest lead of 23 points in the waning minutes.
For the second consecutive game, QU's defense was outstanding and a major factor in the result. The Bobcats held the Hawks to 7.7 percent (1-13) from behind the arc and 32.7 percent (17-52) overall. In addition, Quinnipiac accounted for six blocks from four different players and three steals.
The nation's second best rebounding team continued to dominate the glass as well. The Bobcats corralled 50 rebounds for the fourth time this season, earning a plus-21 margin for the game. This also included 21 on the offensive end en route to 16 second-chance points.
At the end of the night, 10 Bobcats resided in the scoring column on the box score. Garvey Young (Washington, D.C.) finished with seven points, Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) with five, Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) with four and Alex Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) and Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) each chimed in with two apiece. Quinnipiac shot 44.4 percent from the floor and controlled the paint, 36-26.
The Hawks, now 7-18 and 5-7 in the league, entered the match-up having won four of their last five games. Jesse Steele led Monmouth with 13 points, 11 of which came in the first half.
Quinnipiac is back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 8 when the team plays host to intrastate rival Central Connecticut State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center. 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