HAMDEN, Conn. – Three players finished with double-figures in the scoring column on Wednesday night, as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team cruised past intrastate rival Central Connecticut State University, 72-44, at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, the Bobcats leap over the Blue Devils into fifth place in the Northeast Conference standings. QU improves to 14-10 overall and 7-6 in the league, and has now defeated CCSU in six straight meetings.
Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) led all scorers with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in the triumph. James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) finished with 14 points, which included four from long-range, while Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) added 11 points and eight rebounds. Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) registered nine points and five rebounds and Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) chimed in with eight points.
The Bobcats' offense wasted very little time in this one, racing out to a 15-2 advantage over the first seven minutes of play. Azotam was the driving force behind the surge, collecting three buckets underneath for six early points. Defensively, the Bobcats didn't allow CCSU to reach double-digits until the 6:03 mark after a free-throw by Robby Ptacek. QU sustained the wide gap through the first half, taking a 34-22 lead into the break.
After the intermission, Central Connecticut battled back with a quick 9-4 spurt to cut its deficit down to just seven. However, Quinnipiac had an answer, as the hosting Bobcats bounced back with a 30-6 run over the next 10 minutes. With their largest lead of 29 points, the QU coasted to a comfortable win at the Bank, moving to 7-3 at home this year.
The story of the game was holding CCSU's high-powered offense to just 26.8 percent from the floor. The trio of Ken Horton, Kyle Vinales and Ptacek combined for 29 points, about 30 points less than their season-average. Furthermore, when the Blue Devils missed shots, the Bobcats were right there to clean the glass. QU controlled the boards, 49-30, limiting Central to just nine offensive rebounds.
Quinnipiac connected on 46.7 percent of its shot attempts, including 5-of-12 from behind the arc. The high shooting percent was due to finding easy baskets in the paint. QU owned the lane with a 38-16 advantage on the night.
Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) once again has a complete performance for the Bobcats. The point guard tossed in seven points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out six assists and snatched four steals. Three others finished with two points.
CCSU, now on the wrong end of the scoreboard in five of its last six games, was led by Horton with 11 points. The Blue Devils fell to 10-13 overall and 7-6 in the league.
The two teams won't wait long until their next meeting, as the Bobcats travel to New Britain on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. with all the action live on MSG. For all the latest news, scores and highlights pertaining to the men's basketball program, visit www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu