NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Umar Shannon drained a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer on Saturday, saving Quinnipiac in a 90-88 victory over Niagara at the Gallagher Center in upstate New York. It was the Bobcats' seventh straight win and the eighth in their last nine games.
Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) made a layup with 28 seconds left to put Quinnipiac in front, 87-86. On the ensuing possession, Niagara's Antoine Mason was sent to the free-throw line and sank both free throws to grab a lead with 1.7 seconds left. That set the stage for Umar Shannon.
Azotam launched a three-quarter court pass in the direction of Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) and Antoine Mason, which deflected down to Shannon. The veteran guard squared his shoulders and drilled the game-winning three as time expired to silence the near sellout crowd.
Quinnipiac (19-8, 14-4 MAAC) shot 47.3 percent from the field and out-rebounded Niagara, 51-29. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) finished with a career-high 26 points and hauled in 18 rebounds, with nine coming offensively. He was 10-of-12 from the field and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Azotam had season-high 26 points and pulled down 13 boards with seven coming on the offensive end. With the 13 rebounds, Azotam became the fourth player in Quinnipiac history to reach 1,000 rebounds in a career. In addition, the double-double was the 42nd of his career, which set a new QU Division I program record. Azotam is the three player at QU to have 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) led the Quinnipiac backcourt with a season-high 15 points, five assists and four rebounds. Umar Shannon and Hearst each finished with nine points, and Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) added five.
The Bobcats faced an early 17-point deficit in the first half, but charged back into the lead near the midway mark in the second. Trailing by nine with 14 minutes left, Quinnipiac used a 15-4 run to take the lead, and then went back and forth through the closing minutes.
Plagued by injury, Quinnipiac used seven players in the game with all five players playing 29 minutes or more. Azotam logged 38 minutes by game's end.
The Purple Eagles (6-23, 3-15) were led by Mason with 31 points. Marcus Ware chipped in 15 points and Marvin Jordan added 14. Niagara hosted each of the league's top four teams over the past two weeks, and surrendered heartbreaking defeats in all four games – including two last second, game-winners (Iona, QU).
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.
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.
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