February 23, 2012

Men's Basketball Downs Saint Francis (Pa.), 77-44, In NEC Showdown

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HAMDEN, Conn. – A strong first half paved the path to a victory on Thursday night, as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team improved to 5-2 in the month of February with a big triumph over Saint Francis (Pa.), 77-44, at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 16-12 overall and climb back over the .500 mark in conference play (9-8).

Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) led the way for the Bobcats, as the junior guard posted a career-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the win. He added five assists and three rebounds in 34 minutes on the hardwood. Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) continued his consistent play on the season with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) scored in double-figures (15) for the second straight outing.

Efficiency from the floor proved to be the difference in this one, as the Bobcats boasted a double-digit lead behind 55.6 percent shooting in the first half. Dave Johnson paced the steady offense with nine points and three assists in the stanza, leading Quinnipiac to a 35-20 advantage at the break.

After the break, the Bobcats performance only got better, as the home team extended its advantage to 38 points with a 32-11 run over the next 12 minutes. SFU's inability to rebound the basketball allowed the Bobcats to control possession and the clock en route to their largest win total of the season.

For the game, Quinnipiac outshot SFU, 58.6 percent to 38.3 percent, setting a new season-high offensively in the process. In addition, the Bobcats corralled 39 rebounds for a rebounding margin of plus-19, holding SFU to just 20 rebounds, which marks the lowest total by a QU opponent this season. The Bobcats also controlled the paint, 44-30, and collected 20 assists on the evening.

Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.), a top candidate for NEC Rookie of the Year, put together another fine performance for the Bobcats. The freshman forward scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds and rejected a shot in his 18th start of the season. James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) posed as a facilitator for the Bobcats' offense as the senior guard dished out eight assists to go along with five points. Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) had three points and Garvey Young (Washington, D.C.) and Terrance Bobb-Jones (Wilmington, Del.) each added two.

Saint Francis (Pa.), now 6-22 overall and 5-12 in the NEC, was led by sophomore forward Scott Eatherton. He finished with 16 points and six rebounds in the losing effort. The Red Flash travel to Sacred Heart on Saturday.

Quinnipiac also returns to floor on Saturday with a crucial showdown against Robert Morris. The two rivals are set for an 11 a.m. tip-off, a game that will be aired on ESPNU. 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