Men's Basketball Game Central: Quinnipiac vs. Niagara - Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-6, 5-2 MAAC) vs.
Niagara University Purple Eagles (5-13, 2-5 MAAC)
Saturday, January 18, 2014 – 4:00 p.m.
TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.

All-Time Series vs. NU (DI): 2-0 (2-0)
Last Meeting: December 22, 2011 • W, 85-81
QU Last five: 4-1
NU Last Five: 1-4

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Now winners in four of its last five games, the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (10-6, 5-2 MAAC) looks to stay hot at home on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. The Bobcats welcome Niagara University (5-13, 2-5 MAAC) to Hamden for a 4 p.m. tilt at the TD Bank Sports Center. This will be the third meeting all-time with the Purple Eagles. 

The series is young and favors the Quinnipiac Bobcats. QU is 2-0 against Niagara after the two teams played a home-and-away set in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. The Bobcats defeated the Purple Eagles, 88-63, in upstate New York back in 2010 before earning a four-point win, 85-81, at the TD Bank Sports Center in 2011. 

Niagara enters Saturday's matchup with a 5-13 overall record and a 2-5 mark in MAAC play. The Purple Eagles earned a split in their first weekend of conference action, but followed with four straight losses to Rider, Iona, Monmouth and then Rider again. Niagara had a better showing on Thursday night though, defeating the Fairfield Stags, 67-63, at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Ramone Snowden scored a game-high 18 points, including the go-ahead basket with 26 seconds left, to help the Purple Eagles to their first win in over two weeks. Antoine Mason, the nation's and MAAC's leading scorer, was held to just 15 points on 3-of-9 shooting. He has been held below his season average (27.6) over the last four games. Snowden and Marvin Jordan each average just fewer than 10 points per game. Niagara boasts the conference's fourth-best offense but sits at the bottom of the league in scoring defense, allowing more than 84 points per outing. 

For the second time in a span of two weeks, the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team defeated Monmouth University. The Bobcats outlasted the Hawks, 70-61, on Thursday night at the TD Bank Sports Center. Ousmane Drame put together his best performance of the season, while three others joined him with double-digits offensively. Quinnipiac held Monmouth to 38.3 percent shooting and dominated the backboards, 48-34. 

Quinnipiac is 12-1 in its last 13 home games at the TD Bank Sports Center. Since head coach Tom Moore took over in 2007, the Bobcats are 62-32 (.660) on Lender Court. Furthermore, Quinnipiac has won 10 straight at home against conference opposition (dating back to last season) and has won four straight at home overall. Moore is 42-16 (.724) in conference games at the Bank. 

Quinnipiac is the only team in the country that has two players averaging at least 12.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Quinnipiac is one of just two teams (UNLV) that has two players averaging at least 10.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Ike Azotam is averaging 16.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, with Ousmane Drame bringing in 12.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest. 

Ousmane Drame collected his 15th career double-double with 15 points and 21 rebounds against Monmouth. Drame has reached double-digits in 19 of his last 22 games dating back to last season, which included the third 20-point game of his career against Fairfield (12/6). He has six double-doubles on the season which has him tied for third in the conference and tied for 29th in the nation. He is also tied for ninth in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (4.1) and ranks 20th in rebounds per game (9.8). 

Ousmane Drame corralled 20 rebounds in a game for the second time in his career against Monmouth. He became the 15th player in MAAC history, and the ninth since 2000, to record 20 rebounds in a game. Drame was the ninth player in MAAC history to grab 21 rebounds in a game and on top of that, he matched QU's Division I program record for most rebounds in a game (Victor Akinyanju, 2/3/07). He has 49 rebounds in his last three games for an average of 16.3 per contest. 

Ousmane Drame set a new QU Division I program record with seven blocks against Monmouth, breaking his own record which he had done twice before. Drame became the seventh player in Quinnipiac history to record 100 blocks in a career and became the third player during the Division I era.  Drame has 103 career blocks and is chasing CJ Vick's '05 mark of 107 for the DI category lead. Drame has 38 blocks this season which ties Jamee Jackson '13 for 10th all-time and second among DI players for most blocks in a single season. 

Ike Azotam had 15 points and five rebounds against Monmouth. Azotam has 1,350 career points and is closing in on Bill Romano '02 (1,450) for fourth place among the Quinnipiac Division I scoring leaders. In the 2012-13 season, he was the 10th player to score 1,000 points in the Division I era and 26th all-time. Azotam also trails Romano for 14th on the all-time list. 

Ike Azotam scored his 1,300th career point and corralled his 850th career rebound against Iona (1/6) and joined an elite group of two other Quinnipiac players to record 1,300 points and 850 rebounds in a career. Azotam was just the second Division I player to accomplish the feat, as he and Justin Rutty are the only two players to do it since 1998. Ike Azotam has 896 career rebounds which puts him in sixth place all-time in program history. He currently sits in second place since among Division I players, only trailing Rutty's mark of 1,032. With four more rebounds, Azotam would be the sixth player in QU history to record 900 rebounds in a career. 

Ike Azotam collected his 36th career double-double against Saint Peter's (1/12). Azotam only sits behind Justin Rutty's Quinnipiac Division I leading record of 41 career double-doubles. He has double-doubles in nine out of his last 13 games, including four straight, and has at least 10 points in 13 straight. Azotam is the only player in the nation averaging 5.0 offensive rebounds per game, ranks fifth in rebounds per game (11.3) and is tied for third in double-doubles (10.0). All three of these figures lead the MAAC. 

Ike Azotam recorded a career high of five blocks against Iona (1/6). He has 87 for his career which has him ranked fourth during the Division I era and top 10 all-time. Azotam's five blocks in a game was the third most in DI history. 

Ike Azotam has nine career games with 15 or more rebounds. He has four of them this year and looks to meet Rutty's record of five in one season. He is also chasing Rutty's mark of 12 career games with 15 or more rebounds. Azotam has 14 or more rebounds in four of his last five games, and serves as the only QU Division I player record 15 or more rebounds in three straight games. 

Umar Shannon netted 16 points against Monmouth, marking the 12th time he has reached double-figures in a game for the Bobcats. Shannon has at least 12 points in his last six games, with a high of 23 against Monmouth (1/4). Shannon has 1,131 career points between his brief career at Quinnipiac and his stay at Saint Francis University. Shannon is averaging 13.2 points per game at Quinnipiac which ranks him third among Bobcat players and tied for 18th in the MAAC. 

Umar Shannon ranks third in the MAAC in free-throw shooting percentage, averaging 87.5 percent from the charity stripe. He is ranked 51st in all of NCAA Division I basketball. 

Zaid Hearst scored 15 points against Monmouth to mark his eighth 15 point game of the season. Hearst has 10 or more points in 18 of his last 23 games dating back to last season and has 782 career points. He is tied for 14th in the MAAC in scoring (13.6), ranks 14th in free-throw percentage (.778), and 15th in both three-point shooting percentage (.396) and field goal percentage (.458). Hearst tallied a new career high with 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Iona (1/6). He was 9-of-11 (.818) from the floor, 2-of-2 from long range and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line. 

Zaid Hearst collected his ninth career double-double against Iona (1/6). Hearst has six double-doubles on the season, which has him tied for third in the conference and tied for 29th in the nation. He ranks fourth in the league in rebounds per game (7.8) and is top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounding. 

Kasim Chandler has scored 10 or more points in 10 out of his 16 collegiate games. He had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and dished out three assists against Saint Peter's (1/12). Chandler is averaging 9.6 points per game this season, ranking him 30th in the MAAC and second among rookies. He has at least nine points in six out of his last eight games. 

James Ford had nine points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of action against Monmouth (1/4). He was 3-of-7 from the field and 2-of-5 from behind the arc. Ford set a new career high with 10 points off the bench against Rider (12/8). He was 4-of-5 from the floor and 2-of-3 from long range helping the Quinnipiac comeback bid. Ford is averaging 5.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in just 12.2 minutes per outing. 

Head Coach Tom Moore's .576 overall winning percentage is fourth best among active Division I Coaches in New England, only trailing UConn's Kevin Ollie (.723), Harvard's Tommy Amaker (.649) and Vermont's John Becker (.628). (Winning percentage among coaches with at least one season at respective institution)  

The Bobcats lead the nation in rebounding margin (13.1) and offensive rebounds per game (18.1) and are second in the nation rebounds per game (46.9). Last year, Quinnipiac led the nation in total rebounding (42.1) and offensive rebounding (15.9) and was second in rebounding margin (10.4). 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). Quinnipiac is the only team in the nation to finish first or second in each category over the last two seasons.  

With Tom Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has out-rebounded its opponent in 177 of his 205 games (.864) – including 48 straight without losing the battle on the glass. In 70 of the 205 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 20 with plus-20 or better and a rebounding-margin high of 31 against Maine on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 60-10 (.857) mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 16-4 (.800) record with plus-20. Quinnipiac's 48-game streak is far and away the longest active streak in the nation.  

Quinnipiac posted 50 rebounds for the fourth time this season against Iona (1/6), marking the 21st time during the Division I era. In nine years prior to Tom Moore's arrival, QU had just five 50-rebound games, with only two coming against teams classified at Division I at the time of competition. The Bobcats have eclipsed 60 rebounds twice. 

Quinnipiac has had eight or more blocks in five games this year and had a season-high of 10 against Manhattan (1/9). QU ranks second in the MAAC in blocks per game (5.4) and tied for 41st in the nation. 

Over the last five seasons, Quinnipiac is 50-9 (.848) when making more free-throws than its opponent, including a 10-1 mark this year. Furthermore, the Bobcats are 11-0 in the last two seasons when making 25 or more free-throws. Quinnipiac ranks third in the MAAC in free-throw percentage (.714). 

The Bobcats are 11-4 over the last two seasons when their opponent makes fewer than 12 free-throws in a game. On the contrary, when the opposition has recorded 25 or more free throws made over the last two seasons, Quinnipiac is 0-6. 

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 54-15 (.783) when keeping its opponent to below 40 percent from the field. This also includes a perfect 12-0 mark in the 2009-10 season. 

Quinnipiac shot 50 percent from the floor for the second time this season against Monmouth (1/4). The Bobcats connected on season-best 58.6 percent of its field goals against Monmouth last year (2/7/13), nearly eclipsing 60 percent for the first time since 2010. The Bobcats made at least 50 percent of their shots in 29 games over the last five seasons, posting a 24-5 (.828) mark when accomplishing that feat.

Quinnipiac is back in action next weekend with arguably its most difficult two-game set of the season. The Bobcats head to Iona on Friday, Jan. 24 and then Manhattan on Sunday, Jan. 26. Quinnipiac's 7 p.m. tilt with the Gaels will be televised live on ESPN3.