HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team honored its senior class in the best way possible on Saturday afternoon, as the Bobcats extended their winning streak to six straight games with a 69-58 victory over Bryant on Senior Day at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, Quinnipiac improved to 14-13 overall and climbed over the .500 mark for the first time since November. More importantly, the Bobcats, who have won eight of their last nine games, improved to 10-5 in league play. Bryant fell to 17-9 overall and 10-5 in the NEC, now sitting alongside the Bobcats in the conference standings.
Azotam collected his 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Shannon added seven rebounds and seven assists to his 16 points, marking the fourth time in the last six games that he has registered double-figures. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) continued his hot-streak with 13 points and nine rebounds (six on the offensive end), while Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) had 11 points – now recording 10 or more points in 10 of his last 13 outings. Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) finished with seven points and Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) hauled in eight rebounds.
A stellar effort on the defensive side of the ball propelled Quinnipiac to first half lead. The hosting Bobcats held Bryant to just 25.8 percent shooting and grasped a 29-17 advantage on the glass in the opening stanza. Ahead by two points with 3:14 left, Quinnipiac closed the half on an 8-2 run – taking a 27-19 lead into the break at halftime. Azotam led the way with 10 points and five rebounds, while Shannon added seven points and four helpers.
Hearst quickly extended the Bobcat run to 14-2 with back-to-back threes to start the second half. However, Bryant chipped away at the deficit little-by-little behind 11 second-half points from Frankie Dobbs – including a Dobbs' three-pointer that cut the Bobcat lead to just three with 8:09 remaining.
The teams traded buckets until the 5:10 mark, when Quinnipiac bumped its lead back to 10 with a 10-3 run. Conti sparked the surge with a fade-away jumper from the wing and Shannon virtually put the game out of reach with a pair of free-throws with 1:50 remaining. The Bobcats made 5-of-6 from the stripe in the final minute to seal the victory.
In the first meeting between the New England rivals, Bryant connected on 60.7 percent of its field goals en route to 103 points. On Saturday, Quinnipiac held Bryant below 40 percent from the floor, including just 21.7 percent from long range, and improved to 49-13 over the past five years when keeping its opponent to below 40 percent from the field. In addition, the Bobcats mustered a plus-13 edge on the glass, 43-30, which featured 14 on the offensive end. Quinnipiac's bench also outscored Bryant's, 31-9.
The Bobcats are 43-18 all-time against the Bulldogs; a rivalry that dates all the way back to the 1966-67 campaign. Quinnipiac is 6-4 in the Division I era and 3-2 at the Bank.
Seniors Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.), Garvey Young (Washington, D.C.) and Jamee Jackson were honored prior to tip-off and then played the final NEC Regular Season home game of their careers. Senior student-assistant coach Austin Alecxih and senior team manager Kevin Mahoney were also honored for their contributions to the program as well.
Quinnipiac hits the road for its final three games of the 2012-13 season. The Bobcats travel to CCSU (2/25), St. Francis Brooklyn (2/28) and LIU Brooklyn (3/2). Tip-off against the Blue Devils is set for 7 p.m. in New Britain. If Quinnipiac wins the remainder of its games, the Bobcats could finish no worse than second place.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets 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; firstname.lastname@example.org