LORETTO, Pa. – Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) finished with a game-high 28 points on Saturday afternoon, but the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team fell short on the road to Saint Francis (Pa.), 74-71, at DeGol Arena. With the loss, the Bobcats descend to 9-8 overall and 2-4 in the Northeast Conference. SFU improves to 4-15, 3-3 in the league.
Azotam went 13-of-18 from the floor, grabbed four rebounds and snatched two steals for the Bobcats. Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) poured in 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting to go along with a game-high seven assists and a team-high 6 rebounds. James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) scratched out eight points and remains three shy of 1,500 for his career. Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) finished with six points and five rebounds and Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) added five.
The first half featured quick start for the visiting Bobcats, followed by a strong finish for the hosting Red Flash. James Johnson granted QU a seven-point edge, 24-17, after a three-point field goal at the 9:10 mark. However, the lead was short-lived as SFU battled back before the halftime whistle sounded. SFU boasted a 21-13 run to close out the opening frame, leaving the Red Flash in front by one at the break.
The first half was very well-played. The two teams combined for just 11 turnovers and scored at a strong clip. The Bobcats finished 13-of-28 (46.4 percent) while the Red Flash went 15-of-30 (50 percent) from the floor. Azotam tossed in 12 points to lead the Bobcats and Kameron Ritter led SFU with 14 points.
Saint Francis came out of the locker room and quickly added to their halftime advantage. The Red Flash extended the margin to seven points with 15 minutes left and managed to maintain the two-possession lead for much of the second half.
QU wouldn't go away though and battled through the final whistle. Dave Johnson cut the deficit to just one with a free-throw inside of four minutes, but Anthony Ervin had an answer on the other end. Ervin knocked down a trey from the corner, pushing the SFU lead back up to four points.
Quinnipiac clawed its way back to a three-point game and then forced a turnover with four seconds left. Unfortunately, the Bobcats were unable to get the shot off and the clock expired. SFU snapped a six-game skid with the triumph.
For the game, SFU outshot QU, 52.8 percent to 46.6 percent, from the floor, 50 percent to 27.3 percent, from long range and controlled the boards, 30-29. The Bobcats turned nine offensive rebounds into nine second-chance points.
Ritter continued to score the basketball in the second half as well, totaling 24 points for the contest. SFU heads to New Jersey next week for two games against Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson.
QU returns to action on Thursday, January 19 when the team resumes Northeast Conference play at Sacred Heart. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. All information pertaining to the men's basketball program, please visit www.quinnipiacbobcats.com.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu