HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team won at home again on Monday night, defeating Marist College, 83-78, on Lender Court at the TD Bank Sports Center. Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J.) led all scorers with a season-high 26 points, while Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) collected his ninth double-double of the season in the win. Quinnipiac improved to 15-8 overall and 10-4 in league play.
The two teams exchanged blows in large doses but it was Quinnipiac who held serve on its home court. The seventh and final lead change came with 6:01 left in regulation when Umar Shannon connected on a left-handed layup in the paint. Shannon scored Quinnipiac's next 10 points, and the Bobcats opened a two-possession advantage with the clock hovering over the two-minute mark. Quinnipiac went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line in the waning minutes, including two from Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) that sealed the deal with seven seconds left.
Umar Shannon went 8-of-16 from the floor, 5-of-10 from behind the arc and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. He also dished out four assists, grabbed three rebounds and snatched a steal in his best performance to date. It was his fifth 20-point effort of the season.
In addition to Shannon, Ousmane Drame played a large role in the outcome. Drame totaled 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks – which matched his QU Division I record that he set a few weeks ago against Monmouth. He was 7-of-11 from the floor.
Contrary to recent results, the league's second-ranked offense was heavily reliant on its defense throughout the game. Quinnipiac held Marist to just 39.4 percent from the floor, a number that would have been even lower despite 54.5 percent shooting from long range. Quinnipiac blocked nine shots on the night and altered several others with their size underneath. Marist shot just 36.1 percent in the second half.
Rebounding also factored in the final score. Quinnipiac held a 44-37 edge on the glass, this time bolstered by 35 defensive rebounds. The Bobcats corralled nine offensive rebounds and had just six second chance points – a season low.
Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) and Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) each had 15 points for the Bobcats. Hearst added nine rebounds and Azotam finished with five boards. Azotam was 6-of-10 from the field. Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) was solid in 25 minutes of play, scoring six points, grabbing seven rebounds and handing out a game-high of six assists. James Ford (Hopewell, Va.) chimed in with five points on a three and a second-half layup.
Action picked up quickly in the game with massive spurts from each team. Marist pulled away first by way of a 20-6 run over a four-minute stretch that led to the midway point of the half. Quinnipiac was quick to answer though, erasing the deficit completely with an 18-2 run of its own. The tri-state area foes went into the locker rooms all square at halftime.
Marist, now 9-15 overall and 6-8 in MAAC play, was led by 21 points from Chavaughn Lewis and Khallid Hart. Lewis added 10 rebounds but was held to 7-of-26 from the floor. Hart, the front-runner for MAAC Rookie of the Year, had five rebounds and dished out four assists as well.
Quinnipiac returns to action on Thursday night with a trip to Bridgeport to take on Fairfield University at Webster Bank Arena. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. and will be aired live on ESPN3 – courtesy of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
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.