NEW YORK, N.Y. – Led by 15 points from Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.), five Bobcats finished with double-figures on Saturday afternoon, as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team coupled strong defense with a potent offense to defeat Wagner College, 74-69, in a hostile environment at the Spiro Sports Center in New York, N.Y. With the win, Quinnipiac snaps a three-game slide against the Seahawks and climbs back to the .500 mark in NEC play (5-5).
Azotam pulled down six rebounds to go along with his 15 points, which featured a 7-for-8 showing from the free-throw line. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) collected his second double-double in as many games with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) finished with 12 points, making seven out of his last eight games with double-digits. Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) added 11 points and six rebounds and Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) chipped in with 10 points. Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) had nine points and seven rebounds.
Quinnipiac (9-13) wasted little time in this one, racing out to an early lead at the strength of an 18-3 run through the first eight minutes of play. Azotam and Drame paced the offense with six points apiece, while the Bobcats defense held Wagner to just one field goal on nine attempts and forced four Seahawk turnovers during the stretch.
Quinnipiac never let Wagner to within 10 points through the remainder of the half, holding the Seahawks to just 25 percent from the field in the stanza. It was the Bobcats best display of defense through the opening 20 minutes since holding UConn to 24 percent back in November at the Paradise Jam. Quinnipiac carried a 31-19 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
After the break, Wagner cut its deficit to nine points with 16:44 remaining, but Drame quickly pushed the margin back to double-digits with a layup on the Bobcats ensuing possession. Quinnipiac sustained its 10-point margin for much of the second half, never giving in to the Seahawks pressure. The Bobcats limited their turnovers and connected on their free-throws, making 29-of-36 in the second half alone, to prevent Wagner from making a run.
Entering the game as the top two rebounding teams in the Northeast Conference, Quinnipiac retained its No. 1 spot with a 41-31 edge on the glass. The Bobcats also mustered a 30-20 edge in the paint and played solid defense, holding Wagner to just 22 free-throw attempts in the game.
Offensively, both teams shot right around 40 percent from the floor, with Wagner controlling the edge from long range. The Seahawks went 7-of-15 from downtown, compared to 2-of-8 from the visiting Bobcats. Each team hauled in 11 offensive rebounds.
The Bobcats improved to 13-16 in the all-time series and are 4-4 over the last four seasons. Quinnipiac also improved to 3-1 in its last four trips to the Spiro.
The Bobcats return home for its next NEC contest against Monmouth University on Thursday, February 7. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center.
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