February 19, 2014

Men's Basketball Game Central: Quinnipiac at Canisius - Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 at 7 PM

Quinnipiac (17-8, 12-4 MAAC) at
Canisius (18-9, 12-4 MAAC)
Koessler Athletic Center • Buffalo, N.Y.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 • 7:00 PM
All-Time Series vs. CAN (DI):
0-1 (0-1)
Last Meeting: January 30, 2014 L, 86-74
QU Last five: 5-0
CAN Last Five: 3-2

THE FINAL STRETCH
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team (17-8, 12-4 MAAC) has continued its winning ways in the month of February, improving to 5-0 this month with its latest win over Saint Peter's. The Bobcats look for their sixth straight win on Thursday night at Canisius College (18-9, 12-4 MAAC) – a team that they are tied with in the league standings. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo, N.Y.  

ALL-TIME AGAINST CANISIUS
Quinnipiac and Canisius met for the first time in program history a few weeks ago. The Griffins defeated the Bobcats, 86-74, which snapped a five-game winning streak for the Bobcats. Zaid Hearst led Quinnipiac with 33 points, while Billy Baron had 20 for Canisius.  

SCOUTING THE GRIFFINS
Canisius is 18-9 overall and 12-4 in MAAC play, and in search of its third straight win on Thursday night. Winners in six of their last eight games, the Griffins saw a four-game winning streak come to an end when Iona and Manhattan defeated the Griffs in back-to-back games in Buffalo two weeks ago. Canisius bounced back last weekend though, picking up consecutive road wins at Niagara and Siena. After a six-point win against the Purple Eagles, Canisius outlasted Siena in triple overtime last Sunday. Billy Baron, the league's front runner for MAAC Player of the Year, netted a career high 40 points which featured 18 from the free-throw line (18-19). Baron has at least 30 points in seven games this year, and was recently selected as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award. Baron currently ranks third in the nation in scoring average at 24.6 points per game. He's averaging 5.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game for the Griffs, and on Monday, he was named the Lute Olson Award National Player of the Week by CollegeInsider.com and the MAAC Player of the Week. 

LAST TIME OUT AGAINST SAINT PETER'S
The league's top two big men took over midway through the first half, and the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team coasted to its fifth straight win on Sunday evening on Lender Court. The Bobcats avenged an earlier loss to Saint Peter's, and topped the tri-state foe, 74-64, in front of family and friends on Senior Day at the TD Bank Sports Center.  

HEATING UP IN FEBRUARY
Over course of the past six seasons, Tom Moore and the Bobcats have posted a 37-8 (.822) record in the month of February, including a 20-3 (.870) mark at the TD Bank Sports Center. Furthermore, through the last five seasons, the Bobcats are 32-5 (.865) and 18-1 (.947) when playing in Hamden. Quinnipiac went 7-1 in February last season and is 5-0 this year. 

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Quinnipiac is the only team in the country that has two players averaging at least 13.0 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, and that has two players with at least 10 double-doubles this year. Ike Azotam is averaging 17.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game with 15 double-doubles, while Ousmane Drame is averaging 13.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per contest with 10 double-doubles.  

THE 1,500 CLUB
Ike Azotam became the 14th player in Quinnipiac history, and the second since QU joined Division I, to score 1,500 points in career. 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 (1,509) trails Justin Rutty by 12 points for 13th on the all-time list and for third on the Division I list.  

1,000 REBOUNDS IN REACH
Ike Azotam has 990 career rebounds which puts him in fifth place all-time in program history. He became the third player in Quinnipiac history, the second player during the Division I era, to record 1,500 points and 950 rebounds in a career. Furthermore, Azotam serves as the only player in QU history to have 1,500 points, 950 rebounds and 85 blocks. He currently sits in second place among Division I players, only trailing Rutty's mark of 1,032. With 10 rebounds, he'd be the fourth player at Quinnipiac to record 1,000 rebounds.  

DOUBLE-DOUBLE KING
Ike Azotam collected his 41st career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Saint Peter's. With the performance, Azotam matched Justin Rutty's Quinnipiac Division I record of 41 career double-doubles. Azotam ranks second in the country in offensive rebounds per game (4.6), third in double-doubles (15.0), and seventh in rebounds per game (11.0). 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 90 blocks 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 serves as the only QU Division I player to record 15 or more rebounds in three straight games (1/4 – 1/9).  

CAREER HIGH FOR DRAME
Ousmane Drame finished with a career high 23 points and 12 rebounds against Saint Peter's. He has reached double-digits in six of his last eight games, averaging 14.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks during the stretch. He has 10 double-doubles on the season which has him tied for second in the conference and tied for 26th in the nation. He also ranks 16th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (3.7) and 19th in rebounds per game (9.9). He has 19 career double-doubles. 

ALONE AT THE TOP
Ousmane Drame has 123 career blocks which has him atop the leaderboard for most blocks during a Division I career at Quinnipiac. Drame is tied for third all-time and only trails Brian Dawson '95 (135) for second place in program history. He matched his QU Division I program record of seven blocks against Marist (2/10), which he had also done earlier this year against Monmouth (1/16). He became the sixth player ever at Quinnipiac to have 50 blocks in a season, and also set the Division I record for most blocks in a single season (58). His 58 blocks this season is the fourth most in a single season at Quinnipiac.  

CRUISE CONTROL
Zaid Hearst had 20 points and five rebounds against Saint Peter's, now recording double-digits offensively in 12 of his last 14 games. Hearst has scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven games, including a career high of 33 against Canisius (1/30). He is averaging 21.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in his last seven games, while shooting 50.6 percent from the floor, 40.0 percent from long range and 86.8 percent from the free-throw line.  

VERY PROFICIENT
Zaid Hearst is 10th in the MAAC in scoring (15.6), seventh in free-throw percentage (.821), 12th in three-point shooting percentage (.395), and 14th in field goal percentage (.462). Hearst has nine 20-point games this year. 

CRASHING THE BOARDS
Zaid Hearst had 25 points and 10 rebounds against Manhattan (1/26) en route to his 10th career double-double. Hearst has seven double-doubles on the season, which has him ranked fourth in the MAAC and tied for 72nd in the nation. He is tied for fourth in the league in rebounds per game (7.3) and is top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounding. 

CHASING 1,000
Zaid Hearst and Ousmane Drame are approaching the 1,000 point milestone. Hearst has 956 career points while Drame has 807.  

THE SPARK
Evan Conti has provided a spark off the bench over the last eight games. He is averaging 7.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, while recording a season high of 11 points in two of those games. Conti totaled double-digits offensively in five of those eight games, had a career high of eight assists against Canisius (1/30) and had eight rebounds against Manhattan (1/26). He had four points, three rebounds and five assists against Saint Peter's.   

THE SHAQ ATTACK
Shaq Shannon finished with six points, two rebounds and five assists against Saint Peter's. Shannon is averaging 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists during the nine-game stretch, shooting 45.0 percent from the floor and 52.4 percent from long distance. 

SCORING THE BASKETBALL
Umar Shannon was spectacular against Marist (2/10), netting 20 points for the fifth time this season. Shannon finished with a season high 26 points, dished out four assists and grabbed three rebounds in the win. It was the 18th time this year that he has reached double-digits, and it was the 12th time in his last 13 games scoring at least 12 points. Shannon has 1,269 career points between his time at Saint Francis U and Quinnipiac, upping his career scoring average to 13.1 points per game. Shannon is averaging 14.5 points per game this year which ranks him third among Bobcat players and 14th in the MAAC. He missed Quinnipiac's last two games. 

CALM, COOL AND COLLECTED
Umar Shannon ranks fourth in the MAAC in free-throw shooting percentage, averaging 83.7 percent from the charity stripe. Shannon was 12-of-15 (.800) from the free-throw line against Siena (2/1), which included the game-tying tally with 28 seconds left to force overtime. It was the second time this year that he tied the score with a free-throw with fewer than 30 seconds to play (Manhattan, 1/26). 

STACKING UP IN NEW ENGLAND
Head Coach Tom Moore's .584 overall winning percentage is fourth best among active Division I Coaches in New England, only trailing UConn's Kevin Ollie (.727), Harvard's Tommy Amaker (.653) and Vermont's John Becker (.653). (Winning percentage among coaches with at least one season at respective institution)  

REBOUNDING DOMINANCE
The Bobcats lead the nation in rebounding margin (11.9) and offensive rebounds per game (17.0), and rebounds per game (45.9). 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 184 of his 214 games (.860) – including 56 of its last 57 games without losing the battle on the glass. In 75 of the 214 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 Nov. 25, 2013. The Bobcats hold a remarkable 65-10 (.867) 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 six games this year and had a season-high of 10 against Manhattan (1/9). QU ranks second in the MAAC and ranks 53rd in the nation in blocks per game (4.9). 

FREE-THROWS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Over the last five seasons, Quinnipiac is 56-9 (.862) when making more free-throws than its opponent, including a 16-1 mark this year. Furthermore, the Bobcats are 15-0 in the last two seasons when making 25 or more free-throws. Quinnipiac ranks third in the MAAC in free-throw percentage (.717).  

LESS FOULS, MORE WINS
The Bobcats are 13-4 (.765) 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 57-15 (.792) 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 fourth time this season against Saint Peter's. 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 31 games over the last five seasons, posting a 26-5 (.839) mark when accomplishing that feat. Quinnipiac is 8-0 this year when making 45.0 percent of its field goals.  

HOME COOKING
Quinnipiac is 17-2 in its last 19 home games at the TD Bank Sports Center. In the last five seasons, Quinnipiac is 54-19 (.740) overall and 36-9 (.800) against conference opponents at the Bank, which serve as the second best winning percentages among MAAC teams during that stretch. Furthermore, Quinnipiac has won 14 of its last 15 games at home against conference opposition (dating back to last season), and has won eight out of its last nine overall on Lender Court. Since head coach Tom Moore took over in 2007, the Bobcats are 66-33 (.667) overall and 46-17 (.730) in conference games in Hamden.

LOOKING AHEAD
Quinnipiac remains in upstate New York for a clash with Niagara University on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston, N.Y.