Quinnipiac University Bobcats (9-13, 5-5 NEC) vs.
Monmouth University Hawks (8-15, 3-7 NEC)
Date: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.
Series vs. MU: 14-13
Last Meeting: February 4, 2012 (W, 71-48)
Quinnipiac Last Five: 3-2
MU Last Five: 1-4
Live Video Stream: NEC Front Row
Audio: AM 1220 WQUN
Live Stats: QuinnipiacBobcats.com
Live Stats On Your Mobile Device: ESPN.Com
NEC Action Heating Up
Teams ranked No. 3 through No. 9 in the Northeast Conference are separated by just two games with the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (9-13, 5-5 NEC) right in the mix of things. A crucial week of NEC action, the Bobcats next test will be on Thursday night against Monmouth University (8-15, 3-7 NEC). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden.
On The Air / Multimedia Links
Thursday's game will be streamed online through NEC Front Row by clicking the appropriate links posted on www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com. Fans can also tune into AM 1220 WQUN Radio where Paul Pacelli will have the play-by-play call with Billy Mecca and Bob Tipson providing insight on color commentary. Live stats will also be available on www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.
All-Time Against Monmouth
With last season's 71-48 victory in West Long Branch, N.J., the Bobcats eclipsed the .500 mark and now hold a 14-13 advantage in the all-time series with the Hawks. Quinnipiac has won nine of the last 11 meetings and is currently riding a five-game winning streak. Furthermore, the Bobcats are 6-0 at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Scouting The Hawks
The highlight of Monmouth's season came at the end of November, when the Hawks captured a four-game winning streak, defeating South Alabama, Tennessee State, Lafayette and Binghamton. However, Monmouth is just 3-12 since, 3-7 in conference play, and is currently on a three-game losing streak. Most recently, Monmouth received a career-high 27 points from senior guard Jesse Steele, but surrendered a 77-62 loss to league-leading Bryant on Saturday night. The Hawks also got nine-point efforts from Dion Nesmith and Stephen Spinella, while Tyrone O'Garro added six points and seven boards. Monmouth, which was playing without Andrew Nicholas, Khalil Brown and Christian White, hit 12-of-18 free throws and 22-of-64 from the field. Nicholas was leading the Hawks with 13.9 points per game before missing the past few games with an injury. Steele averages 10.8 points per game, guiding a struggling offense that ranks 10th in the league in scoring offense (64.1) and last in field goal percentage (.389).
Last Time Out Against Wagner
Led by 15 points from Ike Azotam, five Bobcats finished with double-figures on Saturday as the Bobcats coupled strong defense with a potent offense to defeat Wagner College, 74-69, in a hostile environment at the Spiro Sports Center. The win snapped a three-game slide against the Seahawks and lifted the Bobcats 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. 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.
Heating Up In February
Over the previous four seasons, Tom Moore and the Bobcats have a 26-7 (.788) record in the month of February. Quinnipiac managed to sustain its late-season success pattern last season, posting a 6-2 record in the final month of the regular season.
Cleaning The Glass
The Bobcats have continued their dominance on the glass, leading the Northeast Conference and ranking amongst the national leaders. Quinnipiac is third in offensive rebounding (15.5), tied for fifth in total rebounding (42.0) and sixth in rebounding margin (9.5). In 2011-12, Quinnipiac led the nation in offensive rebounds per game (16.7), and finished second in total rebounds per game (43.2) and rebounding margin (10.2).
Rebounding Margin Factors In
Rebounding has become the identity of the Bobcats under the direction of Head Coach Tom Moore. With Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has out-rebounded its opponent in 153 of his 180 games – including 23 straight dating back to last season. In 55 of the 180 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 14 with plus-20 or better and a rebounding-margin high of 28 against FDU on February 27, 2011. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 48-6 mark when holding a plus-10 edge and an 11-3 record with plus-20.
Defense Sparks Rally
Quinnipiac wasted little time at Wagner (2/2), racing out to an early lead at the strength of an 18-3 run through the first eight minutes of play. Ike Azotam and Ousmane 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.
Big Weekend For Ous
Ousmane Drame averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds on the road trip against Mount St. Mary's (1/31) and Wagner (2/2). Drame followed his 19-point, 20-rebound effort against the Mount with a 13-point, 10-rebound effort against the Seahawks. Drame now has two double-doubles this season and seven for his career.
Hearst's Scoring Streak
Zaid Hearst has reached double-figures in seven out of his last eight games for the Bobcats. Hearst's streak started against Sacred Heart (1/12) and includes a 13-point, 11-rebound outing against Saint Francis (Pa.) (1/17) – accounting for third double-double of his career. It also featured a 17-point effort against RMU (1/19) and two 16-point efforts against CCSU (1/24) and Mount St. Mary's (1/31).
Climbing The Ladder
Ike Azotam surpassed Bill Romano '02 (580) on Quinnipiac's Division I career rebounding list when he grabbed five rebounds against LIU Brooklyn (1/5). The junior power forward currently sits in second place since Quinnipiac joined the NCAA's top division, only trailing Justin Rutty '11 (1,032). Azotam nearly matched his career-high of 18 rebounds when he hauled in 17 against CCSU (1/24) – only four shy of the Division I record for rebounds in a game.
Dimes For Dave
Dave Johnson moved into fifth place among Division I career assist leaders at Quinnipiac. Johnson's 369 career assists trail Jared Grasso '02 who finished his career with 404 assists.
Rejection Is Key
Jamee Jackson recorded his 81st career block against Lehigh (11/27) and moved ahead of Justin Rutty '11 into second among Division I career block leaders at Quinnipiac. Jackson's 95 blocks trail C.J. Vick '05 who finished his career with 106 blocked shots.
Stacking Up In New England
Head Coach Tom Moore's .567 winning percentage is fifth best among Division I Coaches in New England, only trailing Vermont's John Becker (.667), Harvard's Tommy Amaker (.627), Fairfield's Sydney Johnson (.590) and CCSU's Howie Dickenman (.574). (Winning percentage among coaches with at least one season at respective institution)
Head coach Tom Moore has repeatedly stressed the importance of keeping opposition to below 40 percent from the floor, and with good reason. Over the past five years, Quinnipiac is 47-13 when keeping its opponent to below 40 percent from the field. This also includes a perfect 12-0 mark in the 2009-10 season.
Drame's Elite Performance
Ousmane Drame put together a historic performance against Mount St. Mary's (1/31) with 19 points and 20 rebounds. Drame became the 25th player in NEC history with 20-plus rebounds (tied for 13th all-time), and of those 25, Drame was the only player to do it off the bench. Drame also played the least amount of minutes of any 20-plus rebounder (29) and his nine offensive rebounds were the most by a player with 20-plus rebounds. His 19 points were the fifth highest for a 20-plus rebounder in the NEC since 1998-99 and he amassed the second most rebounds at Quinnipiac since the Bobcats (then Braves) joined the NECC back in 1981-82 (Victor Akinyanju - 21 vs. Mount St. Mary's).
Ike Azotam collected his 25th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Fairleigh Dickinson (1/26) – moving into second place among active NEC players (LIU's Julian Boyd). In addition, Azotam only sits behind Justin Rutty's '11 mark of 41 for second in Quinnipiac's Division I history. Azotam has nine of them this season – tied for first in the conference.
Conti Cashes In
Evan Conti has slipped into his starting role quite nicely for the Bobcats. Conti set new career-highs in points (15) and rebounds (9) against LIU Brooklyn (1/5), falling one rebound shy of a double-double. In 14 career starts for the Bobcats, Conti is averaging 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Last season, Conti earned his first career nod in the CBI Tournament and posted 14 points and four rebounds against Penn.
The Bobcats return to action on Sunday afternoon against instate rival, Central Connecticut State University. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. with all the action live on MSG, Cox Cable and FCS.
Contact: Tony Distasio; email@example.com