ALBANY, N.Y. – Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) scored a game-high 17 points, none bigger than the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left in regulation, to lift the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team over Albany, 59-57, at SEFCU Arena on Friday night. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 7-2 all-time against Albany - a team that was recently ranked No. 20 in the College Insider Mid-Major Poll.
Azotam led the way for the Bobcats, going 6-of-10 from the floor, 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and grabbed eight rebounds in the team's fourth (4-6) win of the campaign. Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) added 12 points and four rebounds, while Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) and Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) combined for 16 points, eight apiece, and 15 rebounds.
Trailing by five points with 3:43 seconds left in the second half, Quinnipiac coupled strong defense with efficient offense to tie the game. Hearst knocked down a three-pointer from the corner and Jackson followed with a bucket underneath – accounting for a 5-0 run to tie the score at 57 apiece.
Possession traded hands three consecutive times over the next minute, when Quinnipiac pulled ahead on its final offensive set. Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) misfired on a jumper in the lane, but Azotam ripped down the rebound and converted the put-back with 12 ticks left. On its ensuing possession, Albany (9-3) went to its leading scorer Mike Black; but tremendous defensive pressure forced the senior guard into a difficult, step-back three-pointer which missed to the right. Time expired and Quinnipiac walked away with its third win all-time in Albany.
In probably its best all-around effort thus far, Quinnipiac held Albany's two best players to 19 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Black finished with 14 points and Jacob Iati was held to just five points on three shots. Albany connected on just 40 percent of its attempts as a team, which also included 16 turnovers.
The Bobcats scored at a 39 percent clip, but dominated the glass, 39-30, and the paint, 33-22. Furthermore, 15 of QU's 39 rebounds were on the offensive end, which resulted in 12 second-chance points. Quinnipiac also had eight steals – just two away from a season-high.
Conti and Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) fared well in good minutes for the Bobcats. Conti finished with five points and three rebounds, while Drame had four points to go along with four rebounds. James Ford, Jr. (Hopewell, Va.) scored his first career points with a big three-pointer in the second half and Kendrick Ray (Middletown, N.Y.) chimed in with two points and three rebounds.
Quinnipiac owns a commanding 7-2 mark all-time against the Great Danes in a series that dates back to the 1953-54 campaign. The Bobcats opened the series with four straight victories in the 1950's; surrendered back-to-back meetings in 1979 and 1997; but are now 3-0 since joining the NCAA's highest division.
The Bobcats coaching staff wore ribbons with the initials S.H.E.S. for Friday's game and observed a moment of silence before tip-off to honor the memories of the 26 fallen Sandy Hook students and staff.
The Bobcats return to the TD Bank Sports Center for its next game when the Bobcats host Maine on Saturday, December 29, 2012. The two teams are set to tip-off at 3 p.m. and will be broadcasted live on NESN throughout the New England region.
Fans interested in purchasing season tickets for the 2012-13 campaign can call the QU Ticket Office at 203-582-3905, visit the official website of Quinnipiac athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com or make a trip to the TD Bank Sports Center Ticket Office.
Please refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any schedule changes as well as the latest news, scores and highlights. The 2012-13 Men's Basketball Schedule is also available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.
Contact: Tony Distasio; firstname.lastname@example.org