February 25, 2013

Quinnipiac Stunned In Final Seconds; Bobcats Fall Short at CCSU, 67-65

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team saw its league-leading six game winning streak come to an end on Monday night, as Central Connecticut State University topped the Bobcats in thrilling fashion in New Britain. CCSU guard Kyle Vinales connected on a 28-footer with 5.4 seconds remaining, propelling the Blue Devils to a 67-65 victory in front of 2,014 people at Detrick Gymnasium.

Quinnipiac rallied from six down with 5:10 left in regulation, boasting a 12-3 run over a four minute span. The Bobcats did most of their damage from the free-throw line - going 8-for-8 during the stretch – with Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) putting Quinnipiac up by three, 65-62, after a layup at the 1:42 mark. The Bobcats seemed to have control over a depleted and tired Blue Devil squad; however, the Blue Devils responded with clutch baskets in the final minute.

Senior Joe Efese cut the CCSU deficit to just one after a layup underneath with 57 seconds showing on the clock. The Bobcats failed to convert on the ensuing possession, setting the stage for Vinales. The league's leading scorer let the clock wind down and knocked down a trey from 28 feet out to put the Blue Devils back in front by two, 67-65. QU's last stitch effort come up short and left the Bobcats with a devastating loss to the intrastate rival.

Monday night featured two other teams in action as Bryant defeated Sacred Heart to seize control of second place in the standings. With the loss, Quinnipiac fell to third, but can still muster a share of the NEC Title with some help in the final weekend.

Hearst led the Bobcats with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, which featured 14 in the second half. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) posted a double-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and two steals, while Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds. Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) added nine points and a career-high 10 rebounds and Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) had six points and six rebounds.

Defensively, Quinnipiac held CCSU's high-powered offense to just 67 points on 42.1 percent shooting. Vinales was five points below his season average and made just six field goals on 19 attempts. The Bobcats dominated the glass, 47-35, and allowed just six second-chance points in the game.

Offensively, shooting woes plagued the Bobcats. Quinnipiac shot 36.4 percent in the game – only 26.7 percent in the second half – and went 13-of-22 (59.1 percent) from the charity stripe. The Bobcats made just four threes on 15 attempts, making just 26.7 percent.

With the loss, Quinnipiac also snapped its eight game winning streak over the Blue Devils. In what could be their final meeting as conference opponents, the Bobcats are now 9-3 since Tom Moore took over back in 2007.

Vinales finished with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. Malcolm McMillian had 16 and Joe Efese tallied 14.

Quinnipiac hits the road for its final weekend series of the 2012-13 season. The Bobcats travel St. Francis Brooklyn (2/28) and LIU Brooklyn (3/2). Tip-off against the Terriers is set for 7 p.m. in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.

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; ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu