Men's Basketball Game Central: Quinnipiac at Niagara - Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 at 3 PM

Quinnipiac (18-8, 13-4 MAAC) at
Niagara (6-22, 3-14 MAAC)
Gallagher Center • Niagara University, N.Y.
Saturday, February 22, 2014 • 3:00 PM
All-Time Series vs. NU (DI):
3-0 (3-0)
Last Meeting: January 18, 2014 • W, 85-71
QU Last five: 5-0
NU Last Five: 0-5

The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (18-8, 13-4 MAAC) extended its winning streak to six straight with its win over Canisius on Thursday night. Now the Bobcats devote their attention to Niagara University (6-22, 3-14 MAAC) who they will meet on Saturday, Feb. 22 in upstate New York. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m. at the Gallagher Center on the University's campus.  

The series is young and favors the Quinnipiac Bobcats. QU is 3-0 against Niagara since the series began back in 2010, while picking up its third win last month at the TD Bank Sports Center. Quinnipiac topped Niagara, 85-71, behind double-doubles from Ike Azotam and Ousmane Drame. Prior to that game, the Bobcats defeated the Purple Eagles, 88-63, in 2010 before earning a four-point win, 85-81, at the TD Bank Sports Center in 2011. 

Niagara fell to 6-22 overall and 3-14 with its most recent loss against Fairfield on Thursday night. NU was on the wrong end of the score sheet for the seventh straight game, while falling to 4-8 at the Gallagher Center this year. Antoine Mason, a front runner for an All-MAAC First-Team selection, led all scorers with 22 points for his 21st 20-point game of the season. Backcourt teammate freshman Wesley Myers joined Mason in double figures by netting a career-high 17 points. Marcus Ware scored 11 points and Ramone Snowden added 10 points while each barely missing on double-doubles with eight and nine rebounds, respectively. NU also dominated in points in the paint, outscoring the Stags, 42-18. However those stats were not enough to overcome an 11-for-25 night at the free-throw line, along with Fairfield's 11 three-pointers, which were the second most by the Stags this season. Mason leads the MAAC and ranks second in the nation in scoring this year (25.5 ppg). 

Playing basketball in the month of February has been an enjoyable time for the Quinnipiac men's basketball team. The Bobcats continued that trend on Thursday night, extending its winning streak to six straight with an 88-81 victory over Canisius College in front of a sellout crowd at the Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo. Umar Shannon, Zaid Hearst and Ousmane Drame each finished in double-figures offensively for the Bobcats. 

Over course of the past six seasons, Tom Moore and the Bobcats have posted a 38-8 (.826) record in the month of February, including a 20-3 (.870) mark at the TD Bank Sports Center. Furthermore, through the last five seasons, the Bobcats are 33-5 (.868) overall and 18-1 (.947) when playing in Hamden. Quinnipiac went 7-1 in February last season and is 6-0 this year. 

Add the month of January to the records, and Quinnipiac is 59-26 (.694) during the two months over the past five seasons. Quinnipiac is 33-8 (.805) overall at home, 58-24 (.707) in conference games and 32-8 (.800) in home conference games during the span.

Quinnipiac is the only team in the country that has two players averaging a double-double for the 2013-14 season. Quinnipiac is also one of just two teams (UNLV) that has two players averaging at least 10.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, and that has two players with at least 10 double-doubles this year. Ike Azotam is averaging 16.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game with 15 double-doubles, while Ousmane Drame is averaging 13.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest with 11 double-doubles.  

THE 1,500 CLUB
Ike Azotam became the 14th player in Quinnipiac history, and the second since QU joined Division I, to score 1,500 points in career. 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 (1,518) trails Justin Rutty by just three points for 13th on the all-time list and for third on the Division I list. Azotam had nine points against Canisius. 

Ike Azotam has 993 career rebounds which puts him in fourth place all-time in program history. He became the third player in Quinnipiac history, the second player during the Division I era, to record 1,500 points and 950 rebounds in a career. Furthermore, Azotam serves as the only player in QU history to have 1,500 points, 950 rebounds and 85 blocks. He currently sits in second place among Division I players, only trailing Rutty's mark of 1,032. With seven rebounds, he'd be the fourth player at Quinnipiac to record 1,000 rebounds in a career.

Ike Azotam collected his 41st career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Saint Peter's (2/16). With the performance, Azotam matched Justin Rutty's Quinnipiac Division I record of 41 career double-doubles. Azotam ranks second in the country in offensive rebounds per game (4.5), third in double-doubles (15.0), and ninth in rebounds per game (10.7). All three of these figures lead the MAAC.  

Ike Azotam recorded a career high of five blocks against Iona (1/6). He has 93 blocks for his career which has him ranked fourth during the Division I era and top 10 all-time. With seven more blocks, Azotam would tie Jamee Jackson for third on the DI career blocks list. Azotam's five blocks against Iona were the third most in a game in DI history.  

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 to record 15 or more rebounds in three straight games (1/4 – 1/9).  

Ousmane Drame notched his 20th career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds against Canisius. Drame has a double-double in three out of his last four games, and has 11 this season which has him ranked second in the MAAC and 21st in the nation. He also ranks 11th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (3.8) and 18th in rebounds per game (10.0). 

Ousmane Drame has recorded double-digits offensively in six of his last seven games. He has 821 career points and 700 career rebounds, which is on pace for 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. Drame matched a career high with 23 points against Saint Peter's (2/16).   

Ousmane Drame has 124 career blocks which has him atop the leaderboard for most blocks during a Division I career at Quinnipiac. Drame ranks third all-time and only trails Brian Dawson '95 (135) for second place in program history. He matched his QU Division I program record of seven blocks against Marist (2/10), which he had also done earlier this year against Monmouth (1/16). He became the sixth player ever at Quinnipiac to have 50 blocks in a season, and also set the Division I record for most blocks in a single season (59). His 59 blocks this season is the fourth most in a single season at Quinnipiac.  

Zaid Hearst had 21 points, five assists and four rebounds against Canisius, now recording double-digits offensively in 13 of his last 15 games. Hearst has scored at least 20 points in six of his last eight games, including a career high of 33 against Canisius (1/30). He is averaging 21.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his last eight games, while shooting 48.0 percent from the floor, 35.0 percent from long range and 88.5 percent from the free-throw line. Hearst has 10 20-point games this year. 

Zaid Hearst ranks 10th in the MAAC in scoring (15.7), fifth in free-throw percentage (.834), and top 20 in both three-point shooting percentage (.381) and field goal percentage (.454). Hearst went 17-of-18 from the free-throw line against Canisius which marked Koessler Athletic Center records for both made free-throws and attempted free-throws in a game by a visiting player.

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 72nd in the nation. He is fifth in the league in rebounds per game (7.2) and is top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounding.

Umar Shannon was spectacular in his return against Canisius, netting 20 points for the sixth time this season. Shannon matched a season high of 26 points for the second straight game, and dished out three assists and grabbed two rebounds in the win. It was the 19th time this year that he has reached double-digits, and it was the 13th time in his last 14 games scoring at least 12 points. Shannon has 1,295 career points between his time at Saint Francis U and Quinnipiac, upping his career scoring average to 13.2 points per game. Shannon is averaging 15.0 points per game this year which ranks him third among Bobcat players and 14th in the MAAC.

Umar Shannon ranks fourth in the MAAC in free-throw shooting percentage, averaging 83.8 percent from the charity stripe. Shannon was 12-of-15 (.800) from the free-throw line against Siena (2/1), which included the game-tying tally with 28 seconds left to force overtime. It was the second time this year that he tied the score with a free-throw with fewer than 30 seconds to play (Manhattan, 1/26). 

Evan Conti has provided a spark for the Bobcats over his last nine games. He is averaging 8.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, while recording a season high of 11 points in two of those games. Conti totaled double-digits offensively in five of those nine games, had a career high of eight assists against Canisius (1/30) and had eight rebounds against Manhattan (1/26). He had nine points, six rebounds and three assists against Canisius. 

Shaq Shannon is averaging 6.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his last 10 games. He is shooting 50.0 percent (12-24) from long range during that stretch and has double-digits offensively in half of those games. 

Justin Harris had a career high of nine rebounds and a season high of four points against Canisius. The four points came on 2-of-5 shooting in a season high of 14 minutes on the hardwood. 

Head Coach Tom Moore's .586 overall winning percentage is fourth best among active Division I Coaches in New England, only trailing UConn's Kevin Ollie (.732), Vermont's John Becker (.656) and Harvard's Tommy Amaker (.653). (Winning percentage among coaches with at least one season at respective institution)  

The Bobcats lead the nation in rebounding margin (12.3) and offensive rebounds per game (16.9), and rebounds per game (46.0). 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 185 of his 215 games (.861) – including 57 of its last 58 games without losing the battle on the glass. In 76 of the 215 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 22 with plus-20 or better and a rebounding-margin high of 31 against Maine on Nov. 25, 2013. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 66-10 (.868) mark when holding a plus-10 edge and an 18-4 (.818) record with plus-20. 

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. 

Quinnipiac has had eight or more blocks in six games this year and had a season-high of 10 against Manhattan (1/9). QU ranks second in the MAAC and ranks 54th in the nation in blocks per game (4.8).

Over the last five seasons, Quinnipiac is 57-9 (.864) when making more free-throws than its opponent, including a 17-1 mark this year. Furthermore, the Bobcats are 16-0 in the last two seasons when making 25 or more free-throws. Quinnipiac ranks third in the MAAC in free-throw percentage (.723).  

The Bobcats are 14-4 (.778) 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.

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 57-15 (.792) 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 fourth time this season against Saint Peter's (2/16). 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 31 games over the last five seasons, posting a 26-5 (.839) mark when accomplishing that feat. Quinnipiac is 8-0 this year when making 45.0 percent of its field goals.  

Quinnipiac is 17-2 in its last 19 home games at the TD Bank Sports Center. In the last five seasons, Quinnipiac is 54-19 (.740) overall and 36-9 (.800) against conference opponents at the Bank, which serve as the second best winning percentages among MAAC teams during that stretch. Furthermore, Quinnipiac has won 14 of its last 15 games at home against conference opposition (dating back to last season), and has won eight out of its last nine overall on Lender Court. Since head coach Tom Moore took over in 2007, the Bobcats are 66-33 (.667) overall and 46-17 (.730) in conference games in Hamden.

Quinnipiac returns home for its final game at the TD Bank Sports Center this year. The Bobcats welcome Siena College to Hamden on Thursday, Feb. 27 for an 8:30 p.m. tip-off at the Bank. The game will be televised live on ESPN3, courtesy of the MAAC.