BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team saw its quest for an Northeast Conference Championship come to an end on Monday night, as the Bobcats were defeated by two-time defending champion LIU Brooklyn, 91-83, in the quarterfinals of the NEC Tournament. With the loss, Quinnipiac fell to 15-16 on the season while the hosting Blackbirds advance to the semifinals where they will meet Wagner College on Saturday afternoon.
Quinnipiac was led by Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) who finished with a career high 23 points on the night. Drame went 8-of-15 from the floor and grabbed nine rebounds in a tremendous all-around effort. Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) and Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) each had 14 points and Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) added 10 points and nine rebounds.
A physical game to say the least, four Bobcats watched from the sideline in the waning minutes after fouling out of the contest. With 2:34 remaining in regulation and the score tied up at 80 apiece, Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) picked up his fifth foul – which sent Brandon Thompson to the line for two. He made both and on the ensuing possession Drame was called for charging - which then sent him to the bench with five fouls.
LIU extended the lead to four with a jump shot from CJ Garner and then got the ball back after another Bobcat turnover by way of a charging call. LIU scored on its ensuing possession to go up by six – a lead that it would never relinquish. Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa) cut it back to four with 39 seconds left, but LIU sealed the deal with free-throws in the closing seconds.
For the game, the Bobcats controlled the backboards, 47-32, which included 23 on the offensive end. They converted those 23 rebounds into 19 second chance points. Quinnipiac also controlled the paint, 38-30, and received 34 points from its bench (34-13).
However, the tightly called contest saw a total of 53 fouls – 31 for Quinnipiac and 22 for LIU Brooklyn. LIU was 29-of-40 (72.5 percent) from the free-throw line compared to 21-of-31 (67.7 percent) for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac fell to 0-5 when its opposition makes more than 25 free-throws in a game.
The first half featured a tremendous display of offense, with Quinnipiac taking a mere four-point, 47-43, lead into halftime. The Bobcats scored the final four points of the half to pull away from a 43-43 deadlock. Quinnipiac's first half total marked a season-high, which was due in large part to 13 points from Drame and 12 from Azotam.
Quinnipiac extended its lead to nine points in the second half with 11:41 remaining, but saw the lead slip away in the final 10 minutes. It was the fifth time this season that Quinnipiac lost a game after leading at halftime.
Garner led LIU with 30 points and Jamal Olasewere finished with 20 points and six rebounds. Olasewere was named the NEC Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season.
In what is likely to have been their last meeting, the loss evens out the all-time series (16-16) against the Blackbirds. Quinnipiac also dropped to 9-10 in NEC Tournament games, snapping its streak of four straight trips to the NEC Tournament semifinals.
Contact: Tony Distasio; email@example.com