BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Despite career highs for both Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) and Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.), the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team was defeated by LIU Brooklyn, 96-90, on Saturday night and lost its chance to host an NEC playoff game in the upcoming tournament. With the result, Quinnipiac dropped to the sixth seed and will travel back to Brooklyn to face the Blackbirds in the NEC Quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
Quinnipiac's backcourt was sensational, led by its senior point guard Dave Johnson. He finished with 24 points, five rebounds and three assists, while going 9-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-8 from long range. Drame paced the Bobcats front court with 21 points and six rebounds – including five rebounds on the offensive end. Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) finished one point shy of his career-high (19), which he set at LIU last season, concluding the night with 18 points and three assists.
The first half belonged to Quinnipiac, as the Bobcats stunned the LIU crowd with a tremendous offensive effort. Hearst had 14 and Johnson had 12, lifting the Bobcats to a 43-34 lead at the break. Quinnipiac put together a 13-3 run at the 13:17 mark; and followed with a 10-2 run over the final few minutes of the half. Quinnipiac shot 51.7 percent from the floor and held the high-powered Blackbird offense in check.
After the intermission, Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) extended Quinnipiac's lead to 11, but things quickly began to unravel for the visiting Bobcats. LIU boasted a 16-0 over the next four minutes and took a 50-45 lead with 15:12 remaining.
However, trailing by eight points with 8:26 left to go, Quinnipiac got right back into the game with a 7-0 run of its own. Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.), who finished with seven points and a career-high 12 rebounds, capped off the run with a jumper – leaving a mere 67-66 LIU lead with just 7:15 to play.
Unfortunately, the fast-paced offense of LIU was too much for Quinnipiac. A CJ Garner three-pointer capped off a 19-7 run for the Blackbirds – leaving LIU with its largest lead of the game, 86-73. Quinnipiac fought back to within four in the waning minutes, but couldn't convert on a crucial possession with 36 ticks left. LIU made its free-throws down the stretch, preventing the QU season-sweep.
Jamal Olasewere led LIU with 33 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. Garner added 30 points and Jason Brickman dished out a game-high 10 assists. LIU scored 62 points in the second half and made 67.9 percent of its field goal attempts.
Quinnipiac edged the Blackbirds on the glass, 37-31, to extend its rebounding streak to 31 games. Hearst also extended his double-figure scoring streak to six straight.
The 2013 Northeast Conference Tournament will once again feature the league's top eight teams in a single-elimination playoff. The tourney opens on Wednesday, March 6 with the quarterfinals, followed by the semifinals on Saturday, March 9 and the finals on Tuesday, March 12. The finals will be televised on ESPN with the winner earning a trip to the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets 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