EDISON, N.J. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team was recently selected to finish seventh in the 2013-14 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Preseason Coaches' Poll, revealed by the league office on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 during the "2013-14 MAAC Basketball Coaches Preview Show" on ESPN3. Quinnipiac officially joined the MAAC in July and will begin its inaugural season this winter.
Manhattan College was selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2014 MAAC Men's Basketball Championship, according to the popular opinion of coaches around the league. The Jaspers, who appeared in last year's MAAC Championship game against Iona, received 10 of 11 first place votes and 119 points.
Defending champion Iona was next in line after receiving the lone remaining first place vote and 108 points overall. Canisius finished third with 100 points, followed by Rider, which finished second in last season's regular season race, with 85 points. Marist was fifth with 69 points, followed by Fairfield (61), Quinnipiac (58), last year's regular season champ Niagara (39), Saint Peter's (38), Siena (35) and Monmouth (14). Along with Quinnipiac, Monmouth will also compete in the MAAC for the first time in the 2013-14 season.
|9.||Saint Peter's (38)|
Tom Moore, now in his seventh season at the helm of the men's basketball program at Quinnipiac, returns 12 players this year from its 2012-13 roster – including their top three returning scorers in 6-7 senior forward Ike Azotam, 6-9 junior forward Ousmane Drame and 6-4 junior guard Zaid Hearst. Azotam, an All-NEC Second Team selection last season, recorded his 1,000th career point to become Quinnipiac's 26th player to accomplish the feat. He averaged 13.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game – ranking him 13th and 6th, respectively, in the conference.
Joining Azotam on the hardwood for a third season will be Drame and Hearst, who each enjoyed stellar sophomore campaigns. Drame averaged 9.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game – which was highlighted by a 19-point, 20-rebound performance at Mount St. Mary's (1/31). His 20 rebounds were the second most at Quinnipiac since the 1981-82 season, while his 19 points were the fifth highest for a 20-plus rebounder in the NEC since the 1998-99 season. Hearst was Quinnipiac's second-leading scorer, averaging 10.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Hearst put together his best basketball down the final stretch where he recorded double-digits in six of his last seven games.
In its final season as a member of the Northeast Conference, Quinnipiac earned 10 or more wins for the sixth straight year – a distinction that not one other team shares with the Bobcats. Quinnipiac tied for fifth in the standings; but with a win in the regular season finale would have claimed the second seed and a home game in the NEC Tournament. Quinnipiac's made its eighth straight conference postseason appearance as the sixth seed in the tournament.
Outside of conference play, the Bobcats endured a grueling non-conference slate which featured five games against NCAA Tournament contenders. Quinnipiac went 3-2 in those games though, including a 2-0 mark against non-conference NCAA teams - beating the MAAC Champion, Iona, and the America East Champion, Albany.
Quinnipiac's regular-season tips off on Saturday, Nov. 9 with the fifth annual Connecticut 6 Classic from Webster Bank Arena. Joining the Bobcats will be Hartford, Yale, Central Connecticut, Sacred Heart, and fellow MAAC foe Fairfield. For the second year in a row, Quinnipiac and Hartford will open the three-game showcase at 3 p.m. Yale and CCSU will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. followed by Sacred Heart and Fairfield in the nightcap at 8 p.m.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets for the 2013-14 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.
Student-Athletes, parents and fans can download the 2013-14 QU Athletics schedules to your laptop and mobile devices for free by clicking in the iCalendar link at the bottom of each sport's homepage or the master schedule page. Fans can also follow Quinnipiac Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@QUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates.