NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds on Friday night but it was the MAAC's top offense that stole the show at the Hynes Athletic Center in New Rochelle, N.Y. Iona College handed Quinnipiac a 95-73 loss and in turn snapped the Bobcats two-game winning streak.
Quinnipiac, who had won five of six entering Friday night's showdown, fell to 11-7 overall and 6-3 in the league. Three of the league's top four teams were in action as Iona and Manhattan joined Canisius atop the table (7-2). The Bobcats take on Manhattan and Canisius in their next two games.
Azotam went 5-of-11 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line en route to his 38th career double-double. Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J.) scored 15 points to eclipse 12 points in his eighth straight game, while Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) each had 10 points. It was a season high for Conti, who also grabbed six rebounds in the losing effort.
Behind a near sellout of 1,823 fans, Iona rallied to take an early lead just after the opening whistle. Leading 13-10 with 12:29 left in the first half, the Gaels sparked a 10-0 run to extend its lead to double-digits as the clock ticked inside of 10 minutes. Iona clung to its lead and carried a nine point, 35-26, advantage into the locker room at halftime.
After the break, Azotam quickly pulled Quinnipiac to within seven – but that was as close as the visiting Bobcats would get. Iona scored in bunches and bumped its lead to 20 points with 12 minutes remaining. The Gaels secured the victory from the free-throw line by making 22-of-26 in the second half.
The big surprise came on the backboards, where Quinnipiac surrendered the rebounding margin for the first time in 49 games. Iona held a 45-37 edge on the glass and limited the nation's leading rebounding team to eight offensive boards. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.), the team's second-leading rebounder, did not suit up for the Bobcats.
Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) chipped in with nine points and three rebounds for Quinnipiac. James Ford (Hopewell, Va.) got his first career nod and had six points and four rebounds in 26 minutes.
Three Iona players had 20-point games for the Gaels. Sean Armand led the way with 23 points, while Tre Bowman and AJ English added 20. Two others had 10. It was Iona's first win in three tries against Quinnipiac.
Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore and his staff participated in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers™ Awareness Weekend for the game. Coaches across the country are uniting to fight cancer and raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society during this weekend's NCAA basketball games.
Quinnipiac is back in action on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 with the second game of the weekend twinbill. The Bobcats travel to Manhattan College for a 2 p.m. tip at Draddy Gymnasium.
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