HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team mounted a furious comeback to close out regulation and then scored 18 points in overtime to defeat the Siena Saints, 103-95, in front of 6,400 people at The Times Union Center in Albany. Quinnipiac improved to 13-8 overall and 8-4 in league play.
The highly-anticipated matchup featured two of the league's most enthusiastic coaches, two of the league's most physical teams, and the MAAC's top two rebounding teams. The game certainly lived up to its hype.
Trailing by nine points with 3:16 remaining in regulation, the Bobcats rallied off an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to cut the deficit to just one, 83-82. Brett Bisping scored on the ensuing possession to extend the Saint lead back to three, but Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J.) once again came through in the clutch for the Bobcats. Shannon missed his first attempt in the lane, but skied for the rebound and went back up a second time. The fifth-year guard made the shot, was fouled on the play, and knocked down the free-throw to tie the score with 28 seconds left. Quinnipiac forced an errant shot on the final Siena possession, leaving overtime to determine the winner.
In the extra frame, Quinnipiac scored the first five points and never looked back. Siena didn't score until the 3:04 mark, but the Bobcats had built a six-point lead. Quinnipiac secured the win from the free-throw line in the waning minutes. Quinnipiac's last two wins have come in overtime, as the Bobcats had a similar result at Manhattan last weekend.
Five Bobcats finished in double-figures for the game. Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) scored 25 points on 6-of-12 shooting and had eight rebounds in another terrific performance. Hearst has at least 25 points in each of his last three outings.
Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) and Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) battled underneath to lead the front court. Drame compiled his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Azotam had 19 points and five rebounds. The duo combined to go 10-of-18 from the field.
Umar Shannon finished with 21 points on 4-of-9 shooting and went 12-of-15 from the free-throw line. Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists. He was 3-of-5 from the charity stripe.
Quinnipiac shot 47.3 percent from the field, 50 percent from behind the arc and 72.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Bobcats attempted 65 free-throws in the game, with the two teams combining for 100 attempts. There were 69 fouls in the contest. The 47 made free-throws and the 65 free-throw attempts were both new Division I program records for the Bobcats. It also marked the most free-throws made in an NCAA DI basketball game this year, and tied the most attempts in a game (Morehead State, Nov. 17, 2013).
After breaking even on the backboards with Canisius on Thursday night, Quinnipiac returned to its rebounding ways on Saturday night. The Bobcats controlled the glass, 44-33, and ripped down 15 on the offensive end. That resulted in 25 second chance points.
Siena, now 10-13 overall and 6-6 in league play, was led by 26 points from Rob Poole. Bisping finished with 20 points and three rebounds.
Quinnipiac carried a four-point lead into the locker room at halftime after a spark off the bench from James Ford (Hopewell, Va.). Ford knocked down two threes before the break including one at the buzzer to make it 41-37.
Quinnipiac will play its next four games in Connecticut, three of which that will take place at the TD Bank Sports Center. The Bobcats return to action on Saturday, Feb. 8 when they play host to Rider at 2 p.m. After that, Quinnipiac will host Marist on Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets for the 2013-14 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.
Student-Athletes, parents and fans can download the 2013-14 QU Athletics schedules to your laptop and mobile devices for free by clicking in the iCalendar link at the bottom of each sport's homepage or the master schedule page. Fans can also follow Quinnipiac Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@QUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates.