HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac men's basketball team gave all fans in attendance and its fans around the region something to cheer about on Monday night. In a game that was televised live on SNY, the Bobcats earned a comfortable victory over Iona College, 86-74, on Lender Court at the TD Bank Sports Center.
On Saturday afternoon, Quinnipiac shot 50 percent from the floor in a nice win at Monmouth. The hot hand carried over into Monday night's makeup game, as the Bobcats knocked down their first eight field goals – which included five from behind the arc.
Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) set a new career high with 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to pick up his sixth double-double of the season. He was 9-of-11 from the floor, 3-of-3 from long range and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line.
Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) continued his stellar play with his 34th career double-double. He netted 18 points and hauled in 15 boards, marking his second straight game with at least 15 rebounds. With his effort, he crossed 1,300-point plateau for his career - making him the seventh Divsion I player and the 17th all-time to accomplish the feat. Azotam, the MAAC's leading rebounder and seventh leading scorer, went 7-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free-throw. He added a career high five blocks as well.
Quinnipiac built a commanding 27-8 lead after going 10-of-11 out of the gate. The Bobcats sustained the 20-point edge through the first half, and took a 49-27 lead into the locker room at the break. Hearst had 16 points and five rebounds, whereas Azotam totaled in 11 points and nine boards through the opening 20 minutes.
The Bobcats' lead quickly blossomed to 28 points in the second half, forcing Iona into another timeout. The league's top-ranked offense began to click midway through the half, but Quinnipiac made enough free-throws to preserve the double-digit lead. Iona head coach Tim Cluess called off Iona's full court press as the clock ticked inside of one minute.
For the 45th straight game, Quinnipiac controlled the edge on the backboards – once again in overwhelming fashion. The Bobcats out-rebounded Iona, 50-27, which featured at least 20 offensive rebounds for the fifth time this year. It was also the second time they notched 50 rebounds in a game.
Kasim Chandler (Newark, N.J.) and Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J.) each poured in 12 points apiece and combined for nine assists on the night. Umar Shannon was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line while Chandler knocked down seven from the stripe. Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) added nine points which included two threes during the Bobcats early run.
On the other side of the ball, Quinnipiac held Iona to 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from behind the arc, well below its season average. Due in large part to Hearst, Quinnipiac also held the league's second-leading scorer, Sean Armand, in check all night. He finished with a season-low 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting. Iona, who scored 118 in its previous game against Niagara, was led by 27 points from AJ English.
With the win, Quinnipiac improved to 2-0 against Iona. The Bobcats and the Gaels squared off for the first time last season at the Paradise Jam. QU won 98-92 in overtime.
Quinnipiac is back in action on Thursday, Jan. 9 with its third game in a six-day stretch. The Bobcats host the MAAC preseason favorite Manhattan College with tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center. The game will be televised on SNY.
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