Men's Basketball Edged By Maine, 76-71

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HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team was defeated by the University of Maine, 76-71, on Saturday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center. Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) led all Bobcats with 16 points and nine rebounds, but hot shooting from Justin Edwards and the Black Bears offense resulted in a loss for the home team on York Hill Campus.

After a one-year break, Quinnipiac (4-7) renewed its series with Maine (5-8) in search of its fourth straight win. However, the Black Bears came out on fire, shooting 63 percent from the floor in the first half, 54 percent for the game, and withstood late pressure from the Bobcats for the victory.

With the scoreboard reading 61-59 in favor of the Bobcats, Jon Mesghna sparked a 12-3 run with a three-point field goal – granting the Black Bears a seven-point, 71-64, advantage with two minutes remaining. The Bobcats battled back courtesy of a Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) three-pointer and an Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) layup to cut the deficit to just three points, but that was as close as they came. QU failed to convert on its final possession – leaving a pair of free-throws on the other end to seal the deal.

Azotam was joined by three other Bobcats in double-figures; Conti with 12, Johnson with 11 and Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) with 10. Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) added nine points and eight rebounds, while Shaq Shannon (Washington, D.C.) chipped in seven points. Johnson also dished out a game-high seven assists.

The America East's leading scorer, Justin Edwards, was relentless offensively for the Black Bears. He poured in a game-high 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 14 coming in the second half. Alasdair Fraser finished with 14 points and Mesghna chimed in with 13.

Shooting percentage proved to be the difference, as Quinnipiac connected on 36.6 percent of its field goals, only 29.7 percent in the second half, compared to 54.7 percent from the Black Bears. The Bobcats entered the contest with the NEC's second-best defense, allowing just over 41 percent from opposing teams.

The Bobcats are now 3-2 all-time against the Black Bears, suffering their first loss in their inaugural meeting back in 2007. Quinnipiac had responded nicely however, winning three straight prior to today's meeting.

The all-important Northeast Conference schedule starts three days into the New Year with back-to-back home games at the Bank. Both opponents participated in the 2012 NEC Tournament, teams that include St. Francis (N.Y) on Thursday, January 3rd (7 p.m.) and LIU Brooklyn on Saturday, January 5th (3 p.m.).  

Fans interested in purchasing season tickets for the 2012-13 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.

Please refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any schedule changes as well as the latest news, scores and highlights. The 2012-13 Men's Basketball Schedule is also available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.

Contact: Tony Distasio; ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu