January 31, 2014

Men's Basketball Game Central: Quinnipiac at Siena - Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (12-8, 7-4 MAAC) at
Siena College Saints (10-12, 6-5 MAAC)
The Times Union Center • Albany, N.Y.
Saturday, February 1, 2014 • 7:00 PM
All-Time Series vs. Siena (DI): 0-2 (0-1)
Last Meeting: January 5, 1999 • L, 107-90
QU Last five: 3-2
Siena Last Five: 3-2 

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BOBCATS HEAD TO ALBANY
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (12-8, 7-4 MAAC) goes for its eighth win in conference play on Saturday night, as the league's top two rebounding teams take the court in Albany. The Bobcats travel to The Times Union Center for a MAAC clash with Siena College (10-12, 6-5 MAAC) – with the two teams separated by just one game in the league standings. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

ALL-TIME AGAINST SIENA
Quinnipiac and Siena square off for the third time on Saturday night. In a series that began back in 1986, Siena has defeated Quinnipiac twice, once during the Division II era and once since QU joined Division I. Their last encounter came back on Jan. 5, 1999 where the Saints handed the Bobcats a 107-90 loss in Albany.  

SCOUTING THE SAINTS
One of the league's hotter teams at the moment, Siena enters Saturday's matchup having won three straight games. Siena is 10-12 overall and 6-5 in league play, and took a big hit with a three-game skid two weeks ago. However, Siena erased the losing streak with consecutive wins over Saint Peter's, Fairfield and most recently, Niagara. On Thursday night, Evan Hymes hit the go-ahead three-pointer off a feed from Rob Poole with 38.4 seconds left, marking final lead change in Siena's dramatic 66-62 win over Niagara. Rob Poole led the way with 15 points while Hymes and Marquis Wright each chimed in with 12. Poole (15.1) and Hymes (10.2) serve as the only two players bringing in more than 10 points per game on the season. Quinnipiac and Siena are No. 1 and No. 2 in the MAAC, respectively, in rebounding. 

LAST TIME OUT AGAINST CANISIUS
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team had its five game winning streak at the TD Bank Sports Center snapped on Thursday night, as the first-place Golden Griffins defeated the Bobcats, 86-74, on Lender Court. Zaid Hearst led the way for the home team with his first career 30-point game in the losing effort. Ike Azotam and Evan Conti joined Hearst in double-figures for the night.

HEATING UP IN FEBRUARY
Over course of the past five seasons, Tom Moore and the Bobcats have posted a 32-8 (.800) record in the month of February, including a 16-3 (.842) mark at the TD Bank Sports Center. Furthermore, through the last four seasons, the Bobcats are 27-5 (.843) and 14-1 (.933) when playing in Hamden. Quinnipiac went 7-1 in February last season. 

30-POINT CLUB
Zaid Hearst set a new career high with 33 points against Canisius, topping his previous career high of 25 which he had done in the preceding game. Hearst scored the most points by a QU player since James Johnson netted 38 against Robert Morris on Jan. 27, 2011, and the most points in a game since Ike Azotam dropped 32 against Niagara on Dec. 22, 2011. 

VERY PROFICIENT
Zaid Hearst is 13th in the MAAC in scoring (14.9), 10th in free-throw percentage (.800), 11th in field goal percentage (.464), and 15th in three-point shooting percentage (.382). Hearst has 10 or more points in seven of his last nine games and has at least 20 points in six games this year. Hearst is averaging 29.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in his last two games while shooting 60 percent from the floor.  

CRASHING THE BOARDS
In addition to his 25 points against Manhattan (1/26), Zaid Hearst chipped in with 10 rebounds to collect his 10th career double-double. Hearst has seven double-doubles on the season, which has him tied for third in the MAAC and tied for 44th in the nation. He ranks fourth in the league in rebounds per game (7.7) and is top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounding. 

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Quinnipiac is the only team in the country that has two players averaging at least 12.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Quinnipiac is one of just two teams (UNLV) that has two players averaging at least 10.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Ike Azotam is averaging 16.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, with Ousmane Drame bringing in 12.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest. 

FEED THE BIG MAN
Ike Azotam had 12 points and nine rebounds against Canisius. Azotam has 1,415 career points and is closing in on Bill Romano '02 (1,450) for fourth place among Quinnipiac Division I scoring leaders. In the 2012-13 season, he was the 10th player to score 1,000 points in the Division I era and 26th all-time. Azotam also trails Romano for 14th on the all-time list. Azotam's 21-point effort against Manhattan (1/26) marked his 15th career 20-point game.   

IN ELITE COMPANY
Ike Azotam scored his 1,400th career point against Manhattan (1/26). He became the third player in Quinnipiac history, the second player during the Division I era, to record 1,400 points and 900 rebounds in a career. Furthermore, Azotam serves as the only player in QU history to have 1,400 points, 900 rebounds and 85 blocks. Azotam has 948 career rebounds which puts him in fifth place all-time in program history. He currently sits in second place among Division I players, only trailing Rutty's mark of 1,032.  

DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE
Ike Azotam collected his 39th career double-double against Manhattan (1/26). Azotam only sits behind Justin Rutty's Quinnipiac Division I leading record of 41 career double-doubles. He has double-doubles in 12 out of his last 17 games, including seven out of his last nine. Azotam ranks second in the country in rebounds per game (11.6) and offensive rebounds per game (4.9), and is tied for second in double-doubles (13.0). All three of these figures lead the MAAC. 

NOT IN IKE'S HOUSE
Ike Azotam recorded a career high of five blocks against Iona (1/6). He has 88 for his career which has him ranked fourth during the Division I era and top 10 all-time. Azotam's five blocks in a game was the third most in DI history. 

15 OR MORE
Ike Azotam collected his 10th career game with 15 or more rebounds against Iona (1/24). With the 16 boards against Iona, Azotam matched Justin Rutty's record of five in one season. He is also chasing Rutty's mark of 12 career games with 15 or more rebounds. Azotam has 14 or more rebounds in six of his last nine games, and serves as the only QU Division I player record 15 or more rebounds in three straight games (1/4 – 1/9). 

OUS RETURNS
Ousmane Drame returned to the hardwood against Canisius after missing the previous two games. He chipped in with six points and eight rebounds in limited minutes. Drame came off the bench for the first time this year. 

A FORCE ON THE BLOCK
Ousmane Drame collected his 16th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Niagara (1/18). Drame has reached double-digits in 19 of his last 24 games dating back to last season, which included the third 20-point game of his career against Fairfield (12/6). He has seven double-doubles on the season which has him tied third in the conference and tied for 44th in the nation. He is also tied for 15th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (3.8) and ranks 23rd in rebounds per game (9.7).

BREAKING HIS OWN RECORDS
Ousmane Drame set a new QU Division I program record with seven blocks against Monmouth (1/16), breaking his own record of six which he had done twice before. Drame became the seventh player in Quinnipiac history to record 100 blocks in a career and became the third player during the Division I era.  Drame has 106 career blocks and is chasing CJ Vick's '05 mark of 107 for the DI category lead. Drame has 41 blocks this season which ranks him eighth all-time and second among DI players for most blocks in a single season. 

THE SPARK
Evan Conti has provided a spark off the bench in each of his last three games. He has double-figures offensively in all three games, recording a season high of 11 points in his last two games. Conti is averaging 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists during the stretch, which included a career high of eight assists last time out against Canisius. Conti also had eight rebounds against Manhattan (1/26).

SCORING THE BASKETBALL
Umar Shannon netted a season high 25 points against Manhattan (1/26), marking the third time he has reached 20 points in a game for the Bobcats. Shannon has at least 12 points in nine of his last 10 games and has 15 or more points in 15 games this year. With his 25-point performance, Shannon (1,210) crossed the 1,200 career-point plateau between his time at Quinnipiac and his stay at Saint Francis University. Shannon is averaging 13.7 points per game this year which ranks him third among Bobcat players and 18th in the MAAC. 

CALM, COOL AND COLLECTED
Umar Shannon ranks fifth in the MAAC in free-throw shooting percentage, averaging 84.0 percent from the charity stripe. Shannon was 8-of-13 from the line against Manhattan (1/26), which included two clutch free-throws with 21 seconds left to tie the score and force overtime.  

CHANDLER HOLDING HIS OWN
Kasim Chandler has scored 10 or more points in half of his collegiate games. He had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and dished out three assists against Saint Peter's (1/12). Chandler is averaging 8.0 points per game this season, ranking him 43rd in the MAAC and 10th among rookies.  

STACKING UP IN NEW ENGLAND
Head Coach Tom Moore's .574 overall winning percentage is fourth best among active Division I Coaches in New England, only trailing UConn's Kevin Ollie (.725), Harvard's Tommy Amaker (.648) and Vermont's John Becker (.637). (Winning percentage among coaches with at least one season at respective institution)  

REBOUNDING DOMINANCE
The Bobcats lead the nation in rebounding margin (12.2) and offensive rebounds per game (17.6), and rank second overall in rebounds per game (46.7). Last year, Quinnipiac led the nation in total rebounding (42.1) and offensive rebounding (15.9) and was second in rebounding margin (10.4). In 2011-12, Quinnipiac led the nation in offensive rebounds per game (16.7), and finished second in total rebounds per game (43.2) and rebounding margin (10.2). Quinnipiac is the only team in the nation to finish first or second in each category over the last two seasons.  

REBOUNDING MARGIN
With Tom Moore at the helm, Quinnipiac has out-rebounded its opponent in 179 of his 209 games (.860) – including 51 of its last 52 games without losing the battle on the glass. In 72 of the 209 games, QU has posted a plus-10 or better rebounding margin, including 21 with plus-20 or better and a rebounding-margin high of 31 against Maine on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 62-10 (.861) mark when holding a plus-10 edge and a 17-4 (.810) record with plus-20. 

ANOTHER REBOUNDING STAT…
Quinnipiac posted 50 rebounds for the sixth time this year against Manhattan (51) (1/26), marking the 23rd time during the Division I era. In nine years prior to Tom Moore's arrival, QU had just five 50-rebound games, with only two coming against teams classified at Division I at the time of competition. The Bobcats have eclipsed 60 rebounds twice. 

BLOCK PARTY
Quinnipiac has had eight or more blocks in five games this year and had a season-high of 10 against Manhattan (1/9). QU ranks second in the MAAC in blocks per game (4.9) and is tied for 50th in the nation. 

FREE-THROWS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Over the last five seasons, Quinnipiac is 52-9 (.853) when making more free-throws than its opponent, including a 12-1 mark this year. Furthermore, the Bobcats are 13-0 in the last two seasons when making 25 or more free-throws. Quinnipiac ranks third in the MAAC in free-throw percentage (.727).  

LESS FOULS, MORE WINS
The Bobcats are 11-4 over the last two seasons when their opponent makes fewer than 12 free-throws in a game. On the contrary, when the opposition has recorded 25 or more free throws made over the last two seasons, Quinnipiac is 0-7. 

DEFENSE WINS
Head coach Tom Moore has repeatedly stressed the importance of keeping opposition to below 40 percent from the floor, and with good reason. Over the past five years, Quinnipiac is 55-15 (.786) when keeping its opponent to below 40 percent from the field. This also includes a perfect 12-0 mark in the 2009-10 season.  

TOUGH TO LOSE IF YOU DON'T MISS
Quinnipiac shot 50 percent from the floor for the second time this season against Monmouth (1/4). The Bobcats connected on season-best 58.6 percent of its field goals against Monmouth last year (2/7/13), nearly eclipsing 60 percent for the first time since 2010. The Bobcats made at least 50 percent of their shots in 29 games over the last five seasons, posting a 24-5 (.828) mark when accomplishing that feat. 

HOME COOKING
Quinnipiac is 13-2 in its last 15 home games at the TD Bank Sports Center. Since head coach Tom Moore took over in 2007, the Bobcats are 63-33 (.656) on Lender Court. Furthermore, Quinnipiac has won 11 of its last 12 games at home against conference opposition (dating back to last season), and has won five out of its last six overall on Lender Court. Moore is 43-17 (.717) in conference games at the Bank. 

ONE'S COMPANY, TWO'S A CROWD, THREE'S A PARTY
Zaid Hearst (25), Umar Shannon (25) and Ike Azotam (21) each eclipsed the 20-point plateau against Manhattan (1/26). It was the first time that three players recorded 20 or more points in a game since the 2001-02 campaign. Rob Monroe (25), Kason Mims (23) and Bill Romano (22) accomplished the feat at Sacred Heart on Feb. 14, 2002.

LOOKING AHEAD
Quinnipiac will play its next four games in Connecticut, three of which that will take place at the TD Bank Sports Center. The Bobcats return to action on Saturday, Feb. 8 when they play host to Rider at 2 p.m. After that, Quinnipiac will host Marist on Monday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.