Connecticut 6 Classic – Quinnipiac Opens Season At Hartford Saturday Afternoon On SNY

Connecticut 6 Classic
Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0, 0-0 NEC) at

University of Hartford Hawks (0-0, 0-0 AE)

Saturday, November 10, 2012 – 3:00 p.m.
Rich Family Pavilion – West Hartford, Conn.

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Connecticut 6 Classic – Quinnipiac Opens Season At Hartford Saturday Afternoon On SNY
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (0-0,0-0 NEC) will kick off the 2012-13 campaign on Saturday, November 10, 2012 in the fourth annual Connecticut 6 Classic at the Rich Family Pavilion in West Hartford, Conn. The Bobcats drew the first game of the tournament and will take on the hosting Hawks of Hartford at 3 p.m. Sports Network New York (SNY) will broadcast the event live which will also feature two other games throughout the day. Sacred Heart and Yale follow the Bobcats and Hawks at 5:30 p.m.; and Fairfield and CCSU conclude the invitational in the nightcap at 8 p.m. The Bobcats are 2-1 in the classic since it began in 2009. 

On The Air
Saturday's game will be broadcasted live on SNY and can be heard on AM 1220 WQUN by clicking the appropriate links posted on Bob Mortali will have the play-by-play call, with Bob Tipson's insight on color commentary. Fans can also tune into live stats as well. 

All-Time Against Hartford
The Bobcats have endured great success against the Hawks in the all-time series. With their nine-point win last season, QU has now won 10 of the last 11 meetings, including five straight. Quinnipiac owns a 15-5 mark all-time against the Hawks. 

Scouting The Hawks
The University of Hartford men's basketball team was recently selected to finish seventh in the America East Conference by a vote of the league's head coaches. Hartford returns seven student-athletes, including three starters, from a team that was the youngest in the league last year, finishing 9-22 in 2011-12. Highlighting the returners are Mark Nwakamma and Nate Sikma who return as sophomores after becoming the first Hartford duo to earn America East All-Rookie honors in the same year last season. Nwakamma emerged as a scorer last year, helping the Hawks conclude the season with a 9-9 mark after averaging 10.9 points per game in the final 18 games of the year. Sikma averaged 8.6 points per game in his rookie campaign. He led the team's rebounding efforts with 4.3 per outing and was second on the team in assists with 67. After playing mostly off the ball as a freshman, Hartford will look to Yolonzo Moore II to run the point in 2012-13. In his rookie campaign, he averaged 6.8 points per game and played in all 31 games, earning a starting role in all but one. 

Last Time Out Against Hartford
Ike Azotam finished with 15 points and Zaid Hearst added 14 of his own, as the Bobcats defeated the Hawks, 70-61, last season at the Rich Family Pavilion in West Hartford. Quinnipiac controlled the points in the paint, 30-20, and the glass, 41-28. Entering the game, the Bobcats ranked atop the nation in rebounding, second in offensive rebounding and third in rebounding margin. The statistic remained true throughout the contest, as the Bobcats turned 16 offensive rebounds into 17 second chance points and captured a plus-13 rebounding margin. 

Three Straight National Postseason Appearances
After consecutive trips to NIT and CIT national postseason tournaments, the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team made it three straight under Head Coach Tom Moore in 2011-12. The Bobcats won 18 games en route to a first round clash with Pennsylvania in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), a 16-team tournament that included the likes of national powers Butler, Pittsburgh, Washington State and Oregon State. A roster that was filled by eight freshmen, Quinnipiac's most recent campaign reveals a bright future after several encouraging victories. Included in the 18 wins were two triumphs over Robert Morris, a College Insider Tournament (CIT) Quarterfinalist, and a victory on the road against Vermont, a 2012 NCAA Tournament contender. 

Among The Elite
Head Coach Tom Moore has accumulated an impressive 93-65 record in his five seasons with the Bobcats. His .589 winning percentage is the fourth best in New England, only trailing Vermont's John Becker (.667), Harvard's Tommy Amaker (.621) and Fairfield's Sydney Johnson (.605). 

NEC Tournament Success
With their NEC Semifinal appearance last season, the Bobcats have reached the semifinals five times in their last seven tournament appearances, reaching the championship game twice. The trip to the NEC Tournament in 2011-12 was the program's fourth straight, a distinction shared by only one other NEC school, Robert Morris. 

Cleaning The Glass
Much of the success under Tom Moore coincides with Quinnipiac's success on the glass. The Bobcats once again established themselves as a national power on the boards in 2011-12; leading the nation in offensive rebounds per game (16.7), and finishing second in total rebounds per game (43.2) and rebounding margin (10.2). This marks the third consecutive season that QU has cracked the top-10 in rebounding; including a second straight year atop the offensive rebounding category. In addition, all three marked NEC bests as well.

Just Like Ike
Ike Azotam led the Northeast Conference and captured 30th in the nation in rebounding (9.5 per game), and led the NEC and finished 15th in the country in offensive rebounding (3.6 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). 

Breaking Rookie Records
Ousmane Drame was 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 averaged 7.3 rebounds per game this year, a mark that ranked him eighth in the league and first amongst the NEC's freshman class. In addition to his 232 rebounds, he also owns the rookie record for blocks in a season (29). 

Bobcats Honored By NEC
James Johnson and Ike Azotam were named to the All-NEC Second Team by the league's coaches last season. The award was the second straight for Johnson and first for Azotam. Ousmane Drame performed as one of the NEC's top freshman and was also named to the All-Rookie Team. Tom Moore has now placed a player on the All-Conference Team in each of his five seasons with the program.   

Rebounding Margin Factors In
Rebounding has become the identity of the Bobcats under the direction of Head Coach Tom Moore. Through 158 games with Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has only failed to out-rebound an opponent 27 times. In 45 of the 158 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 11 with plus-20 or better. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 43-2 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 10-1 record with plus-20.   

Making Adjustments
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 25-13, a .658 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. 

Tom Moore Inks Contract Extension
Men's Basketball Head Coach Tom Moore signed a contract extension this past summer. In search of his first NCAA Tournament bid, the two-time Northeast Conference Coach of the Year will continue to lead the Bobcats through the 2016-17 season. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

2012 Paradise Jam
On Thursday (Nov. 15), the Bobcats open the 2012 Paradise Jam - the first in-season, invitational tournament in Bobcats history. Quinnipiac will take on Iona College in the opening round on Friday (Nov. 16) at the Sports and Fitness Center at University of Virgin Islands. Depending on the result, the Bobcats face its second opponent - either Connecticut or Wake Forest - Saturday (Nov. 17) or Sunday (Nov. 18). 2011 National Champion and Big East powerhouse UConn won the Paradise Jam back in 2008, while the ACC's Wake Forest will make its first-ever appearance in the invitational. The other side of the bracket features first round matchups: New Mexico vs. Illinois-Chicago and Mercer vs. George Mason.