November 15, 2011

Johnson, Azotam Lead Bobcats; Men's Basketball Upends Yale, 68-62

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HAMDEN, Conn. – Senior guard James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) registered a game-high 25 points and sophomore forward Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) recorded his second consecutive double-double, as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team knocked off New Haven County foe Yale University in their home-opener on Tuesday night at the TD Bank Sports Center. Johnson and Azotam combined for 62 percent of the Bobcats' offense en route to a 68-62 triumph.

With the win, the Bobcats improved to 1-1 on the season and have now won seven straight home-openers dating back to the 2004 campaign. The Bulldogs dropped to 1-1 with the loss.

Johnson paced the QU offense with 25 points, going 8-of-20 (.400) from the floor in 37 minutes of action. He also added four rebounds and three assists to his stat line. Azotam posted another double-double, matching a career-high with 17 points and setting a new career-high with 18 boards. Freshman Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) tossed in seven points and nabbed four rebounds, while Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) and Alex Jackson (Baltimore, Md.) combined for 13 rebounds and 11 points. Eight members of the squad finished in the scoring column by the end of the night.

The first half of the contest featured a defensive battle, where both teams connected on just 32 percent from the floor. Yale jumped out to an early lead in the game, and with a pair of free-throws from Jeremiah Kreisberg, captured its largest advantage of eight points, 16-8.

However, sparked by Johnson and Azotam, the Bobcats rattled off a 9-1 run over the next four minutes to tie the score up at 17 apiece. The two teams exchanged baskets down the stretch, with freshman Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) accounting for the final bit of offense. He completed a three-point play that granted the hosting Bobcats a mere 32-31 halftime advantage.

In the second half of play, the Bobcats and the Bulldogs traded baskets, leaving a one-point lead for the home team with 11:44 left in regulation. Johnson ignited another Bobcat surge with a three-point field goal, as QU rallied off a 9-2 run over the next three minutes. Jackson brought the crowd to its feet with an electrifying dunk and Azotam capped off the run with a lay-up at the 8:56 mark.

The Bobcats extended their advantage to 12 points down the stretch after a pair from the stripe by Drame. Yale chipped away in the waning minutes, but Azotam sealed the deal with two free-throws with 38 seconds on the clock leading QU to its first win of the season.

Quinnipiac controlled the boards, 54-41, including 19 on the offensive end. Defensively, the Bobcats held Yale to just 22 percent shooting in the second half and 27 percent overall. The 27 percent from the floor marks the second time in two years that QU has held an opponent under 30 percent.  

Reggie Willhite led the Bulldogs with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Austin Morgan added 13 points and Jeremiah Kreisberg finished with 10. Jamee Jackson and Harris held Greg Mangano, who dropped 23 against CCSU, to just five points in 35 minutes of play.

The Bobcats return to action with their second home-game of the season on Saturday, November 19, 2011. QU welcomes Navy to TD Bank Sports Center for a 2 p.m. showdown. Live audio, video and statistics will be provided for the contest at www.quinnipiacbobcats.com.

Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu