February 7, 2014

Men's Basketball Game Central: Quinnipiac vs. Rider - Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 at 2:00 PM Live on ESPN3

MAAC Men's Basketball: Quinnipiac vs. Rider at 2 PM | ESPN3
Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 | TD Bank Sports Center | Hamden, Conn.
Quinnipiac | 13-8, 8-4 MAAC | Game Notes | Homepage
Rider | 12-10, 8-5 MAAC | Game Notes | Homepage
Live Video  ESPN3 Live Audio  WQUN 1220 AM
Live Stats  QuinnipiacBobcats.com Tickets  QuinnipiacBobcats.com
All-Time Series  3-0 (Rider) Series at TD Bank  First Meeting


BOBCATS SEEK REVENGE
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (13-8, 8-4 MAAC) seeks revenge against the Rider Broncs (12-10, 8-5 MAAC) on Saturday afternoon. Rider handed the Bobcats their first MAAC loss two months ago in New Jersey, and now the Bobcats look to return the favor on their home turf. Quinnipiac and Rider square off at 2 p.m. on Lender Court at the TD Bank Sports Center. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3. 

ALL-TIME AGAINST RIDER
Saturday will be the fourth meeting between the two schools. Rider has defeated Quinnipiac in its previous three encounters, with the most recent victory coming on December 8, 2013. Ike Azotam led the Bobcats with 24 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort. Before that, Rider defeated Quinnipiac, 89-70, in the opening game of the Hawaii-Hilo Invitational Tournament. The first meeting was back in 1970 where the Broncs defeated the Bobcats, 79-75.

SCOUTING THE BRONCS
An ongoing trend for the Quinnipiac men's basketball team, the Bobcats once again meet one of the league's hotter teams on Saturday. Rider enters the matchup having won three of its last four games, which included a three game winning streak until Thursday night's loss to Marist. The Broncs are led by three players in double-figures: Anthony Myles (17.4), Daniel Stewart (15.6) and Jimmie Taylor (11.1). All three players factored in Rider's win back on Dec. 8, with all three of them scoring 20 points against the Bobcats. Stewart tallied 25 points on 13-of-15 shooting from the free-throw line, while Taylor had 21 and Myles had 20 – both totaling 14 points in the second half of play. Taylor ranks second among freshmen in scoring in the MAAC, while Myles' average has him tied for fifth in the league. 

LAST TIME OUT AGAINST SIENA
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 last Saturday. 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. After a Saint basket, Umar Shannon tied the score up at 85 apiece with an old-fashion three-point play, and Quinnipiac cruised in overtime to the road victory. Five Bobcats finished in double-figures: Zaid Hearst (25), Umar Shannon (21), Ike Azotam (19), Ousmane Drame (17) and Shaq Shannon (13).  

HOME COOKING
Quinnipiac is 13-2 in its last 15 home games at the TD Bank Sports Center. Since head coach Tom Moore took over in 2007, the Bobcats are 63-33 (.656) on Lender Court. Furthermore, Quinnipiac has won 11 of its last 12 games at home against conference opposition (dating back to last season), and has won five out of its last six overall on Lender Court. Moore is 43-17 (.717) in conference games at the Bank.

HEATING UP IN FEBRUARY
Over course of the past six seasons, Tom Moore and the Bobcats have posted a 33-8 (.805) record in the month of February, including a 16-3 (.842) mark at the TD Bank Sports Center. Furthermore, through the last five seasons, the Bobcats are 28-5 (.848) and 14-1 (.933) when playing in Hamden. Quinnipiac went 7-1 in February last season and is 1-0 this year. 

FREE-THROW FRENZY
Quinnipiac went to the line 65 times and made 47 of those attempts at Siena. The 47 made free-throws were the most by any NCAA Division I team this season, while the 65 attempts tied Morehead State (Marshall, 11/17/13) for the most attempts in a game this year. Furthermore, the 47 made free-throws were the third most makes in a game since the 1997-98 campaign. Both figures set new Quinnipiac Division I program records. 

DOUBLE TROUBLE
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.  

CRUISE CONTROL
Zaid Hearst netted 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Siena, marking his third straight game with 25 points. Hearst is averaging 27.7 points and 8.0 rebounds over his last three games – which included a career high of 33 against Canisius (1/30). He is shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and 86.8 percent from the free-throw line, while dishing out five assists as well. Hearst was 6-of-12 from the floor and 13-of-15 from the line against Siena. 

VERY PROFICIENT
Zaid Hearst is 12th in the MAAC in scoring (15.4), ninth in free-throw percentage (.809), 12th in field goal percentage (.466), and 15th in three-point shooting percentage (.382). Hearst has 10 or more points in eight of his last 10 games and has at least 20 points in seven games this year.  

CRASHING THE BOARDS
Zaid Hearst had 25 points and 10 rebounds against Manhattan (1/26) en route to his 10th career double-double. Hearst has seven double-doubles on the season, which has him ranked fourth in the MAAC and tied for 53rd in the nation. He ranks fourth in the league in rebounds per game (7.7) and is top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounding. 

CSM MAAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For his efforts, Zaid Hearst was named the College Sports Madness MAAC Player of the Week, announced on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Hearst averaged 29.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the games against Canisius (1/30) and Siena (2/1). Hearst shot 57 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the free-throw line in a 1-1 week for the Bobcats. 

IN ELITE COMPANY
Ike Azotam hauled in his 950th career rebound against Siena. He became the third player in Quinnipiac history, the second player during the Division I era, to record 1,400 points and 950 rebounds in a career. Furthermore, Azotam serves as the only player in QU history to have 1,400 points, 950 rebounds and 85 blocks. Azotam has 953 career rebounds which puts him in fifth place all-time in program history. He currently sits in second place among Division I players, only trailing Rutty's mark of 1,032.  

FEED THE BIG MAN
Ike Azotam had 19 points and five rebounds against Siena. Azotam has 1,434 career points and is closing in on Bill Romano '02 (1,450) for fourth place among 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. Azotam's 21-point effort against Manhattan (1/26) marked his 15th career 20-point game.   

CHASING RUTTY
Ike Azotam collected his 39th career double-double against Manhattan (1/26). Azotam only sits behind Justin Rutty's Quinnipiac Division I leading record of 41 career double-doubles. He has double-doubles in 12 out of his last 18 games, including seven out of his last 10. Azotam ranks second in the country in offensive rebounds per game (4.8), and ranks fourth in both rebounds per game (11.3) and double-doubles (13.0). All three of these figures lead the MAAC.  

NOT IN IKE'S HOUSE
Ike Azotam recorded a career high of five blocks against Iona (1/6). He has 88 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.  

15 OR MORE
Ike Azotam collected his 10th career game with 15 or more rebounds against Iona (1/24). With the 16 boards against Iona, Azotam matched Justin 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 serves as the only QU Division I player record 15 or more rebounds in three straight games (1/4 – 1/9).  

A FORCE ON THE BLOCK
Ousmane Drame collected his 17th career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds against Siena. Drame has reached double-digits in 20 of his last 25 games dating back to last season, which included the third 20-point game of his career against Fairfield (12/6). He has seven double-doubles on the season which has him tied for second in the conference and tied for 40th in the nation. He is also tied for 12th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (3.8) and ranks 20th in rebounds per game (9.8). 

ALONE AT THE TOP
Ousmane Drame blocked two shots at Siena and passed CJ Vick '05 (107) for the Quinnipiac Division I lead in career blocks (108). He has 43 this season which places him in a two-way tie for the most during a Division I season at Quinnipiac. Drame ranks sixth on the all-time list and only trails Maurice Morris '91 and Carl Miazaga '87 for fifth place in program history (114). He set a new QU Division I program record with seven blocks against Monmouth (1/16), breaking his own record of six which he had done twice before. 

SCORING THE BASKETBALL
Umar Shannon netted 21 points against Siena, marking the fourth time he has reached 20 points in a game for the Bobcats. Shannon has at least 12 points in 10 of his last 11 games and has 15 or more points in 16 games this year. With his 25-point performance against Manhattan (1/26), Shannon (1,231) crossed the 1,200 career-point plateau between his time at Quinnipiac and his stay at Saint Francis University. Shannon is averaging 14.0 points per game this year which ranks him third among Bobcat players and 15th in the MAAC.  

CALM, COOL AND COLLECTED
Umar Shannon ranks fifth in the MAAC in free-throw shooting percentage, averaging 83.3 percent from the charity stripe. Shannon was 12-of-15 (.800) from the free-throw line against Siena, which included the game-tying tally with 28 seconds left to force overtime. It was the second time in the last three games that he tied the score with a free-throw with fewer than 30 seconds to play. 

THE SHAQ ATTACK
Shaq Shannon finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists against Siena. He totaled double-digits offensively for the fourth time this year and made six free-throws for the first time this season. Shannon had a season high of 18 in the team's first meeting with Rider on Dec. 8.  

THE SPARK
Evan Conti has provided a spark off the bench over the last four games. He is averaging 8.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, while recording a season high of 11 points in two of those games. Conti totaled double-digits offensively in three of those four games, had a career high of eight assists against Canisius (1/30) and had eight rebounds against Manhattan (1/26). 

STACKING UP IN NEW ENGLAND
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 (.725), Harvard's Tommy Amaker (.652) and Vermont's John Becker (.645). (Winning percentage among coaches with at least one season at respective institution) 

REBOUNDING DOMINANCE
The Bobcats lead the nation in rebounding margin (12.1) and offensive rebounds per game (17.4), and rank second overall in rebounds per game (46.5). 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.  

REBOUNDING MARGIN
With Tom Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has out-rebounded its opponent in 180 of his 210 games (.857) – including 52 of its last 53 games without losing the battle on the glass. In 73 of the 210 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 21 with plus-20 or better and a rebounding-margin high of 31 against Maine on Nov. 25, 2013. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 63-10 (.863) mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 17-4 (.810) record with plus-20. 

ANOTHER REBOUNDING STAT…
Quinnipiac posted 50 rebounds for the sixth time this year against Manhattan (51) (1/26), marking the 23rd 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. 

BLOCK PARTY
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 and 58th in the nation in blocks per game (4.8). 

FREE-THROWS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Over the last five seasons, Quinnipiac is 53-9 (.855) when making more free-throws than its opponent, including a 13-1 mark this year. Furthermore, the Bobcats are 14-0 in the last two seasons when making 25 or more free-throws. Quinnipiac ranks third in the MAAC in free-throw percentage (.727).  

LESS FOULS, MORE WINS
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 0-7. 

DEFENSE WINS
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 55-15 (.786) when keeping its opponent to below 40 percent from the field. This also includes a perfect 12-0 mark in the 2009-10 season.  

TOUGH TO LOSE IF YOU DON'T MISS
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. 

30-POINT CLUB
Zaid Hearst set a new career high with 33 points against Canisius (1/30), topping his previous career high of 25 which he had done in the preceding game. Hearst scored the most points by a QU player since James Johnson netted 38 against Robert Morris on Jan. 27, 2011, and the most points in a game since Ike Azotam dropped 32 against Niagara on Dec. 22, 2011.

LOOKING AHEAD
Quinnipiac will play its next three games in Connecticut, two of which that will take place at the TD Bank Sports Center. The Bobcats return to action on Monday, Feb. 10 when they host Marist at 7 p.m., followed by a trip to Fairfield University on Thursday, Feb. 13.