NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Senior James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) led all Bobcats with 20 points on Sunday afternoon, as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team defeated Central Connecticut State University, 67-59, at Detrick Gymnasium. The Quinnipiac defense held the Blue Devils to one field goal over the final 10 minutes of play, propelling the Bobcats to their fourth straight win. Now 15-10 overall and 8-6 in the Northeast Conference, QU stands alone in fifth place in the league standings.
Johnson tallied 20 points for the eighth time this season, going 4-of-8 from long range and grabbing three rebounds in the triumph. Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) completed another double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, notching No. 14 of his career. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) added seven points and eight rebounds and Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) composed a steady offense at the point with seven points and six assists.
After falling behind early in the first half, the Bobcats used a 21-4 run midway through the stanza to open a nine-point advantage. Behind 13 points from James Johnson, Quinnipiac carried a six-point lead, 39-33, into the locker rooms at the break. CCSU was led by Kyle Vinales' 17 points, as the Bobcats' defense held Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek to a total of five points.
However, Central Connecticut came to life in the second half, boasting a 24-10 run over the next 9:36 seconds of action. Ken Horton capped off the surge with a deep three-point shot from the left wing, granting the hosting Blue Devils a 57-51 advantage.
From that point forward though, Quinnipiac's defense completely took over the game as the momentum began to swing. Azotam ignited and capped off an 8-2 run over the next six minutes, leaving the scoreboard knotted up at 59 apiece.
After the final media timeout, Quinnipiac closed the game with an 8-0 run; silencing the CCSU fans en route to its sixth win in its last eight tries. The Blue Devils did not score a point in the final seven minutes, leaving a stunned Blue Devils team with their fourth straight loss.
Second-half defense was the key to the final result, as the Bobcats held the Blue Devils to just 29.3 percent in the final 20 minutes. CCSU converted on 22-of-63 attempts in the game (34.9 percent) compared to 25-of-53 (47.2 percent) from the Bobcats. QU went 7-of-13 from behind the arc and controlled the paint, 30-26.
CCSU, now 10-14, 7-7 in the NEC, heads to Pennsylvania next week for games against Robert Morris and Saint Francis. Vinales led the Blue Devils with 27 points with Ptacek and Horton combining for 15 points.
The Bobcats are back in action on Thursday, Feb. 16 at the TD Bank Sports Center. QU plays host to St. Francis (N.Y.) at 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