HAMDEN, Conn. – "I was really thrilled with the play of Ousmane Drame tonight, he was terrific," commented Quinnipiac men's basketball head coach Tom Moore after Thursday night's game.
Those words summed up the night for the 6-9 junior forward. Drame posted career highs of 21 rebounds and seven blocked shots in helping the Bobcats to a 70-61 victory over Monmouth at the TD Bank Sports Center. The seven blocks set a new QU Division I program record, while his 21 rebounds matched a Division I record that stood for some seven years. Drame added 15 points and collected his 15th career double-double in the team's fourth win in their last five games.
Quinnipiac, now 10-6 overall and 5-2 in the MAAC, saw three other players in double-digits. Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J.) led all scorers with 16 points and matched season high with five assists. Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) knocked down three threes en route to 15 points and Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
The game went back-and-forth with several scintillating runs throughout the night. Neck and neck through the first few minutes, Monmouth pulled away with a 17-0 run midway through the first half. After that, Quinnipiac fired back with a 13-4 run to close out the opening frame. Drame had six points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in the first half alone.
Quinnipiac quickly erased its two-point halftime deficit in the second stanza, and both teams traded baskets until the 10 minute mark. The next three minutes were crucial as a 6-0 Bobcat run generated some breathing room for the home team. Monmouth never closed the gap to within four points and Quinnipiac made enough free-throws to pull away in the waning minutes.
With their victory 12 days ago in West Long Branch and their triumph on Thursday night, the Bobcats now hold a 17-13 advantage in the all-time series with the Hawks. Quinnipiac has won 12 of the last 14 meetings and is currently riding a eight-game winning streak against the New Jersey rival. Since Moore took over in 2007, Quinnipiac is 10-2 against MU which includes a 5-2 mark in New Jersey and a 5-0 mark at the TD Bank Sports Center.
In addition to the double-digit scorers, Quinnipiac received sparks from Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) and James Ford, Jr. (Hopewell, Va.). Shannon filled the stat sheet with five points, four rebounds and seven assists – matching a career high in helpers for the fourth time. Ford also finished with five points while grabbing three rebounds in a season high of 19 minutes.
Drame's spectacular performance was similar to his effort against Mount St. Mary's last year. He corralled 20-plus rebounds for the second time in his career and narrowly sported the first triple-double since James Feldeine did it back in 2010. Drame played in all but 15 seconds of the game.
Monmouth, who falls to 8-10 overall and 2-5 in conference play, was led by 16 points from Deon Jones. Andrew Nicholas finished with 14 points, as the Hawks were held to just 38.3 percent from the floor.
The Bobcats controlled the glass, 48-34, obtaining the rebounding edge for the 48th straight game. QU grabbed 17 on the offensive end for 23 second chance points.
Quinnipiac is back in action on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 with the second game of its weekend set. The Bobcats host Niagara for a 4 p.m. tilt on 'Bradley School Game Night' at the TD Bank Sports Center.
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.
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