Bobcats Stunned In NEC Opener; Fall Short To St. Francis Brooklyn, 63-61

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HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team opened Northeast Conference competition with a tough loss to St. Francis Brooklyn, 63-61, on Thursday night at the TD Bank Sports Center. Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) nabbed his second career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and two others added double-figures, but turnovers and free-throws plagued the Bobcats' offense en route to their first NEC loss of the season.

Hearst did most of his damage in the first half on 5-of-10 shooting for 12 points to go along with eight rebounds. Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) was one rebound away from a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) added 10 points and four assists. Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) tallied eight points and a career-best nine rebounds and Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) finished with seven points and six rebounds.

Trailing by two points with just under a minute remaining, Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) knotted the game up at 61 apiece with a layup underneath. Needing a big stop on defense, Jamee Jackson blocked a Travis Nichols three-point attempt and then forced an errant with the shot clock winding down - giving Quinnipiac possession of the ball. The Bobcats went the other way but lost the ball near mid-court – leaving Brent Jones with a clear path to the rim for the go-ahead bucket with nine seconds left.

Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) sprinted down the court in hopes for the equalizer, but had his shot blocked by Jalen Cannon and into Jones' hands with 1.6 seconds remaining. Jones missed the frontend of the one-and-one, but Evan Conti's (Bayside, N.Y.) last-second heave came up short, leaving the Terriers with their first NEC win of the 2012-13 campaign.

Quinnipiac played well enough to win, holding St. Francis to 35.5 percent from the floor and dominating the backboards, 56-35. Its 56 rebounds was the most since their encounter with LIU Brooklyn last season where Quinnipiac set a program record with 61. However, turnovers and free-throws didn't go in favor of the Bobcats – surrendering a minus-10 edge in turnovers and making just 11-of-26 from the charity stripe.

The Terriers were led by Nichols who poured in 15 points which included nine from long range. Cannon finished with 14 points and eight rebounds – sustaining his NEC rebounding edge over Azotam. 

Hearst sparked the Bobcats from the opening tip, collecting five points in a 9-0 run to start the game. Quinnipiac seemed to have total control of the first half, when Harris extended the Bobcats lead to 14 after an offensive rebound and put-back for a 22-8 advantage. However, St. Francis went on a 20-9 run from the very end of the first half which carried 10 minutes into the second half – leaving an eight point edge for the visitors. Quinnipiac chipped away down the stretch – bringing the game down to the wire.

The Bobcats fell to 11-13 all-time against St. Francis – but still hold a 9-3 advantage over their last 12 meetings.

Quinnipiac will conclude its first weekend of NEC competition on Saturday, January 5 at the TD Bank Sports Center. The Bobcats will take on last year's NEC Champion LIU Brooklyn at 3 p.m., the backend of a basketball doubleheader on York Hill Campus.

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