Quinnipiac University Bobcats (14-10, 7-6 NEC) at
Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils (10-13, 7-6 NEC)
Sunday, February 12, 2012 – 12 p.m.
Detrick Gymnasium – New Britain, Conn.
QU Last Five: 4-1
CCSU Last Five: 1-4
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Bobcats Look For NEC Rivalry Week Sweep At CCSU On Sunday
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (14-10, 7-6 NEC) opened NEC Rivalry Week on a high note, as the Bobcats captured a comfortable home-win against Central Connecticut State University (10-13, 7-6 NEC) on Wednesday night. QU, now winners in five of their last six games, sits in a two-way tie with the Blue Devils for fifth place in the league standings. The deadlock won't remain for long though, as the Bobcats will head to Detrick Gymnasium on Sunday for the backend of the two-game series. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. with all the action live on MSG.
All-Time Against Central Connecticut
The triumph on Wednesday night granted the Bobcats their 20th win all-time against the Blue Devils. CCSU still controls series lead, 50-20, but have struggled of late against the Bobcats. Over the last three seasons, QU has won seven out of the last eight games and is currently riding a six-game winning streak.
Scouting The Blue Devils
After a 6-1 start in conference play, the Blue Devils have endured a difficult stretch over the past three weeks. CCSU is 1-5 during the six-game stint, which includes scoring a season-low 44 points against the Bobcats on Wednesday night. Senior Ken Horton, a 6-foot-6 forward out of Ossining, N.Y., leads a group of three players who account for 79 percent of the team's total offense. Horton ranks second in the league with 19.4 points per game, while Robby Ptacek and Kyle Vinales bring in 18.1 and 17.4 points per outing, respectively; good enough for third and fourth in the NEC. Defensively, the Blue Devils reside in the middle of the pack in scoring defense (70.1 ppg.), but fall all the way to ninth place in field goal percentage defense.
Last Time Against CCSU
Ike Azotam led a trio of Bobcats in double-figures on Wednesday night, as the Bobcats cruised past intrastate rival CCSU, 72-44, at the Bank. Azotam finished with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in the triumph. James Johnson finished with 14 points, which included four from long-range, while Ousmane Drame added 11 points and eight rebounds. The story of the game was holding CCSU's high-powered offense to under 30 percent from the floor. Furthermore, when the Blue Devils missed shots, the Bobcats were right there to clean the glass. QU controlled the boards, 49-30, limiting Central to just nine offensive rebounds. Quinnipiac connected on 46.7 percent of its shot attempts, including 5-of-12 from behind the arc. The high shooting percent was due to finding easy baskets in the paint. QU owned the lane with a 38-16 advantage on the night.
On The Air
Sunday's game will be broadcasted live on MSG and Cox Sports (CT) and can be heard 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.
150 Under His Belt
Wednesday night's affair served as Head Coach Tom Moore's 150th game on the sideline for the Bobcats. He holds an 89-61 record, which results in nearly a .600 winning percentage at QU. Furthermore, Coach Moore fares even better in Northeast Conference competition, holding a 56-29 mark (.659) in five seasons.
Johnson Reaches 1,600
James Johnson netted 14 points against the Blue Devils on Wednesday night, moving into a two-way tie for 11th place on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,601 career-points, met Carl Miazga's mark with the performance. He surpassed Justin Rutty's point total of 1,521 last month, which also moved him ahead into second amongst all-time division I scorers as well.
QU held CCSU to just 26.8 percent shooting from the floor on Wednesday night. Earlier in the season, the Bobcats contained Yale to the same figure, including 22.6 percent in the second half of play. The Bobcats have not had a more dominant display of defense since the 2008-09 campaign, when they limited the Terriers of St. Francis (N.Y.) to 25.4 percent shooting overall and just 21.9 percent in the first half.
Big Three Stopped
The Bobcats restrained the Blue Devils' three top scorers on Wednesday night, holding them to about 30 points less than their season-average. The trio of Ken Horton, Kyle Vinales and Robby Ptacek combined for 29 points, going 9-of-31 (10 percent) from the floor.
For the first time in Division I program history, the Bobcats held back-to-back opponents under 50 points last week. Quinnipiac took it one step further and added CCSU (44) to the streak on Wednesday. CCSU, Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth connected on just 30 percent from the field, including a dismal 12.5 percent (5-40) from long distance.
Breaking Rookie Records
Ousmane Drame has been a force on the glass in his rookie season for the Bobcats. Drame hauled in 10 rebounds against Monmouth on Feb. 4, setting a new freshman record for rebounds in a single-season. He hauled in his 167th rebound, surpassing Justin Rutty (144) and Ike Azotam (166), who previously owned the top two slots. He is averaging 7.3 rebounds per game this year, a mark that ranks him ninth in the league and first amongst the NEC's freshman class. In addition to his 175 rebounds, he also owns the rookie record for blocks in a season (17).
Heating Up In February
With their last three wins, the Bobcats improved to 22-5 (.815) in the month of February over the last four seasons. Quinnipiac has managed to hold opponents to just 38 percent from the floor, while shooting at a 45 percent clip.
Just Like Ike
Ike Azotam leads the Northeast Conference and is 30th in the nation in rebounding (9.6 per game), and leads the NEC and ranks eighth in the country in offensive rebounding (3.9 per game). Azotam posted his 11th double-double of the season with his performance against FDU on Feb. 2 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 13th 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 (17.5) and are tied for first in in rebounding margin (11.4) and are second in rebounds per game (44.2) and. 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 150 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 25 times. In 42 of the 150 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 11 with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 40-2 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 10-1 record with plus-20.
Second Time Around
Quinnipiac has collected 21 offensive rebounds in three of its last four games. The nation's best team in the category turned the extra effort into 60 points through the 120 minutes of play. The Bobcats are averaging 15.7 second-chance points per outing through 23 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 16 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.
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.
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.
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 four 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 will close out their mini three-game homestand next Thursday against St. Francis (N.Y.). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu