Quinnipiac University Bobcats (16-12, 9-8 NEC) vs.
Robert Morris University Colonials (22-8, 13-4 NEC)
Saturday, February 25, 2012 – 11:02 a.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.
QU Last Five: 3-2
RMU Last Five: 5-0
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Senior Day At The Bank; Bobcats, Colonials Square Off On ESPNU, ESPN3
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (16-12, 9-8 NEC) squares off against NEC rival Robert Morris on Saturday morning. The Bobcats will look to replicate the first meeting between the two schools, as QU went out to Pennsylvania and escaped with a thrilling victory. Prior to the 11:02 a.m. tip-off on Lender Court, the QU men's basketball program will honor several seniors for their hard work and dedication to Quinnipiac. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPNU and ESPN3.
All-Time Against Robert Morris
The Bobcats hold a 10-16 record all-time against the Colonials. Despite trailing in the series, QU has taken three of the last five encounters.
Scouting The Colonials
Robert Morris opened its two-game road trip to Connecticut with thrilling victory on Thursday night, as Velton Jones knocked down a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift RMU past Sacred Heart. That same night, St. Francis (N.Y.) fell on the road to Monmouth, leaving the Colonials in sole possession of third place. Since suffering back-to-back losses in New York to St. Francis and Wagner, RMU has responded nicely over the last four weeks. The Colonials have won six straight games, a stretch that goes even further to winning 10 of their last 12 contests. Jones, a 6-foot guard out of Philadelphia, Pa., leads the Colonials offensively averaging 16.1 points and 4.3 assists per game. Even though Jones will be a focal point for the Bobcats' defense, scoring the basketball will be the obstacle. Robert Morris leads the Northeast Conference in scoring defense (62.5 ppg) and ranks third in field goal percentage defense (.426).
Last Time Against RMU
James Johnson, Dave Johnson and Ike Azotam led a potent attack for the Bobcats, as QU overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Robert Morris, 78-76, at the Charles L. Sewall Center back in January. Trailing by eight points at the break, the Bobcats connected on 66.7 percent of their second-half field goal attempts to complete the comeback bid. For the game, Quinnipiac outshot RMU, 58.5 percent to 42.6 percent, from the floor and 70 percent to 33.3 percent, from behind the arc. The Bobcats pulled down 28 rebounds, three more than the Colonials, and collected two more steals as well (6-4). James Johnson led all scorers with 22 points, as the senior guard went 7-of-12 from the floor, dished out four assists and grabbed three rebounds.
On The Air
Saturday's game will be broadcasted live on ESPNU, ESPN3 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.
A pair of senior class members will say farewell to the Quinnipiac University men's basketball program on Saturday morning. James Johnson and Kevin Tarca have worn the Bobcats' jersey for four years now, accumulating a total 124 games with the team.
Johnson Cracks Top 10
James Johnson netted five points against the Blackbirds on Saturday afternoon, moving into 10th place on the all-time scoring list. Johnson, now with 1,646 career-points, moved ahead of 1991 graduate Boyd Johnson on the wall. 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. He remains just 39 points shy of Rob Monroe's 1,685.
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 (16.8) and are second in total rebounds per game (43.6) and rebounding margin (10.8). 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)
Ike Azotam has been a force underneath for the Bobcats this season and currently leads the Northeast Conference in double-doubles. He collected his 13th double-double of the campaign against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Feb. 16 and now remains just four behind the QU single-season mark set by Justin Rutty in the 2009-10 season. With his performance against the Terriers, he moved into a two-way tie for fourth place in career double-doubles among active NEC players. Azotam has reached double-figures in two statistical categories 15 times for the Bobcats, tying Alex Francis of Bryant University.
Heating Up In February
With five wins in the month thus far, the Bobcats improved to 24-7 (.774) 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 46 percent clip.
Rebounding Margin Factors In
Rebounding has become the identity of the Bobcats under the direction of Head Coach Tom Moore. Through 154 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 26 times. In 43 of the 154 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 11 with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 41-2 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 10-1 record with plus-20.
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 24-13, a .649 winning percentage, over the last four years in the backend of the regular-season twinbill. This also includes seven wins in which the team follows a loss in the first meeting.
For the first time in Division I program history, the Bobcats held back-to-back opponents, Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth, under 50 points. Quinnipiac added CCSU (44) to the streak on Feb. 8 and tacked on one more after holding Saint Francis (Pa.) to 44 on Thursday night. The four teams connected on just 31 percent from the field, including a dismal 12.0 percent (5-40) from long distance.
Just Like Ike
Ike Azotam ranks second in the Northeast Conference and is 30th in the nation in rebounding (9.5 per game), and leads the NEC and ranks 15th in the country in offensive rebounding (3.8 per game). 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).
Second Time Around
Quinnipiac's hunger on the offensive glass has them ranked first in the nation for the category. The Bobcats are averaging 15.4 second-chance points per outing through 28 games this season. Opponents have been held to just 8.8 second-chance points per game, which includes holding BU (12/31), SHU (12/3) and FDU (2/4) to just three. Furthermore, the Bobcats have registered at least 15 second-chance points 19 times this season, boasting 20 points or more on five separate occasions.
150 Under His Belt
Head Coach Tom Moore appeared in his 150th game this season on the sideline for the Bobcats. Through 150 games with Quinnipiac, he accumulated an 89-61 record, which results in nearly a .600 winning percentage. Furthermore, Coach Moore fared even better in Northeast Conference competition, holding a 56-29 mark (.659) in five seasons.
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 eighth in the league and first amongst the NEC's freshman class. In addition to his 204 rebounds, he also owns the rookie record for blocks in a season (22).
Freshmen Ousmane Drame and Zaid Hearst put together tremendous outings at LIU Brooklyn on Saturday. Drame collected his fourth double-double of the season with a career-high 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Hearst chimed in with career-highs in points (19) and rebounds (8). The duo combined to go 16-of-23 (.696) from the floor and grabbed six offensive rebounds.
College Sports Madness Honors Azotam
Ike Azotam was named the College Sports Madness NEC Men's Basketball Player of the Week for his exceptional performance on the hardwood in the second week of February. The 6-foot-7 Boston, Mass. native averaged 16 points and nine rebounds in the two-game series sweep of Central Connecticut State. Azotam notched his 14th career double-double in the first meeting, pouring in 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the 28-point triumph. The sophomore followed that showing with a 15 point, eight rebound effort in the Sunday matinee at CCSU.
Drame Claims Third NEC Weekly Rookie Accolade
Ousmane Drame was tabbed the Choice Hotels/NEC Rookie of the Week for his efforts against the Blue Devils during Rivalry Week. The 6-foot-9 forward gave the Bobcats a much-needed boost in a two-game sweep of Central Connecticut. The Boston, MA native averaged nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks as the Bobcats stretched their win streak to four games. In the first game, Drame put on an 11-point, eight-rebound performance in a 28-point victory over the Blue Devils. In a televised affair later in the week, he capped the sweep with seven points, eight boards and three blocks in a 69-57 victory on the road. Overall, he shot 7-for-12 from the field (.583), and added three assists and a steal.
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 in their first meeting. 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 Northeast Conference Tournament opens on Thursday, March 4, 2012. There are still several scenarios that the Bobcats could face in the first round, setting the stage for a thrilling weekend within the NEC. For all the latest news, scores and highlights, please visit www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu