HAMDEN, Conn. – The league's top two big men took over midway through the first half, and the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team coasted to its fifth straight win on Sunday evening on Lender Court. The Bobcats avenged an earlier loss to Saint Peter's, and topped the tri-state foe, 74-64, in front of family and friends on Senior Day at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) matched a career high 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to collect his 10th double-double of the season. Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.), who played the second-to-last home game of his storied career, notched his 41st career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Azotam crossed the 1,500-point plateau in the game, and tied Justin Rutty for the most double-doubles in a career at Quinnipiac. They combined to go 17-of-30 from the floor in the contest.
Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) came on strong in the second half to finish with 20 points and five rebounds. It was his sixth 20 point game in his last seven games, as he netted 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the second half.
Contrary to its last game against Fairfield, Quinnipiac dug itself an early hole against the Peacocks. Saint Peter's (9-16, 5-11 MAAC) opened up a 12-1 lead after a jumper from Marvin Dominique at the 15:44 mark. The Bobcats settled in though, and erased the deficit entirely with a 16-4 run. The Bobcats built a seven-point lead after that, and carried a 31-27 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Quinnipiac's momentum trickled over into the second half, and its four-point edge turned into 10. The big blow for the Bobcats came around the midway mark, when Hearst sparked a 12-2 run to extend the margin to 20 points. Saint Peter's used an effective press to cut the deficit down to nine points, but Quinnipiac secured the victory from the free-throw line.
When the teams first met back in January, Saint Peter's neutralized Drame and Azotam by holding the two to just three field goals in the first half. SPU built a 12-point lead by halftime and held on for the win. Sunday told a completely different story with Drame and Azotam making their presence known from the opening whistle. As a result, Quinnipiac dominated the glass, 44-28, and shot 50 percent from the floor for the second straight game. QU shot 66.7 percent in the second half.
Joining Quinnipiac's big three offensively were Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.), Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) and James Ford (Hopewell, Va.). Shannon finished with six points and five assists; Conti added four points and five assists; and Ford finished with five points and four rebounds. Catching a case of the injury bug of late, Quinnipiac looks to return Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J.) and Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) to the lineup next week.
Saint Peter's, who has dropped six of its last eight games, was led by Dominique who finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Trevis Wyche had 16 and Chris Burke had 12.
The win put Quinnipiac in the win column all-time against Saint Peter's, after going 0-3 before Sunday's triumph. Quinnipiac also improved to 17-2 in its last 19 home games in Hamden.
Quinnipiac hits the road for a pair of games up in Buffalo, N.Y. next weekend. The Bobcats take on Canisius College on Thursday, Feb. 20 (7 p.m.) at the Koessler Athletic Center and then head a few miles down the road to Niagara on Saturday, Feb. 22 (3 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.