SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The third-seeded Quinnipiac University men's basketball team was eliminated from the 2014 MAAC Tournament Championship on Sunday night, falling short to second-seeded Manhattan College, 87-68, at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) corralled his 44th career double-double and became Quinnipiac's Division I rebounding leader in the losing effort.
Azotam needed just nine rebounds to become Quinnipiac's Division I leader, and grabbed his 10th in the second half of play. He surpassed Justin Rutty's mark of 1,032, and now trails Dave Tuthill (1,082) for second place on the all-time list. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the game, while going 8-of-18 from the floor.
Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) and Kasim Chandler (Newark, N.J.) also finished in double-figures for Quinnipiac – who shot 44.2 percent as a team. Hearst totaled 15 points, including a 9-of-11 showing from the free-throw line, and Chandler had 14 points and a career high of seven assists. He was 4-of-7 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Manhattan's pressure overwhelmed Quinnipiac in the early going, but the Bobcats managed to weather the storm and settle in. After falling behind 11-1 through the first few minutes, Quinnipiac outplayed Manhattan until the halftime whistle – as the two teams went into the locker rooms tied at 40 apiece.
After the break, the Jaspers caught fire and managed to put some separation between the two teams. All-MAAC First Teamer George Beamon gave Manhattan an eight-point cushion with back-to-back threes at the 17:01 mark, which was then followed by another Jasper rally. Ahead by seven with 13:16 remaining, Manhattan boasted a 10-2 run to go up by 15 points. The Jaspers coupled strong defense with a consistent offense to sustain the double-digit lead through the home stretch.
Beamon finished with 25 points in the game with 23 of those coming in the second half. Emmy Andujar continued his torrid stretch with 21 points and six rebounds, and Rhamel Brown added 16 points and nine rebounds. Brown's length on the offensive glass accounted for multiple second-chance points for the Jaspers. Manhattan controlled the rebounding edge, 37-34, just the second time Quinnipiac has surrendered the rebounding margin in its last 62 games.
Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) was next in line for the Bobcats with eight points and six rebounds. Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) had six points and seven rebounds, James Ford, Jr. (Hopewell, Va.) had three, and Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Justin Harris (Paterson, N.J.) each had two.
For Quinnipiac (20-11), its 20-win season was the third in the last five years, as they will look to add to the total in a national postseason tournament. The Bobcats will wait and see how the rest of the season shapes out, and should get a bid in the following week.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets for the MAAC Tournament Finals can visit the MAAC Championship page on www.ticketmaster.com. Manhattan and Iona will square off tomorrow night at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
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