Ike Azotam turned in 17 points to become Quinnipiac’s 26th 1,000-point scorer and Evan Conti flirted with a triple-double on Saturday afternoon as the men’s basketball team cruised past Saint Francis University, 71-55, at the TD Bank Sports Center.
With the win, the Bobcats improved to 12-13 overall and 8-5 in the NEC, and have now won four straight and six out of their last seven games.
Needing just seven points to eclipse 1,000 for his career, Azotam met the milestone 8:05 into the game to become the 10th player at Quinnipiac to accomplish the feat in the Division I era. Azotam was 7-of-10 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Conti finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists - which included a monster second half with 10 points and five assists. Ousmane Drame was one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 15 rebounds, while Zaid Hearst added 16 points and seven rebounds.
Strong defense coupled with an efficient offense paced the Bobcats in the first half, as the home team took a 41-19 lead into the locker room at halftime. Hearst sparked Quinnipiac early on with three quick threes and the Bobcats went up 17-5 through the first seven minutes. SFU answered with five straight points, but Quinnipiac caught fire and outscored SFU, 24-9, to close out the stanza. Hearst led the Bobcats with 14 points, including four field goals from downtown, and Azotam added eight in the outburst. Defensively, it marked the third time this season that Quinnipiac has held an opponent under 20 points in the first half.
Saint Francis played even with the Bobcats in the second half, but its deficit was much too high to climb – especially with Quinnipiac’s rebounding capabilities. The Bobcats dominated the boards, 49-23, including 20 on the offensive end, while holding SFU to just four second chance points on six offensive rebounds. Quinnipiac also held the Red Flash under 40 percent from the field, improving to 48-13 over the last five seasons when achieving that statistic.
Quinnipiac has been stellar on the glass of late, including superb performances by Drame. He has nine or more rebounds in his last five games, including three with more than 15. As a team, the Bobcats have 40 or more rebounds in six of their last seven games – averaging 44.6 during the span.
Saint Francis, now 3-22 overall and 3-11 in league play, was led by Ollie Jackson who finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Quinnipiac improved to 20-8 all-time against the Red Flash and is 11-3 in their last 14 meetings. The Bobcats have also defeated SFU by 15 points or more five straight times on Lender Court.
After this weekend, Quinnipiac gets very challenging as the Bobcats will play five games in the next 10 days. Up next, Quinnipiac heads to Sacred Heart on Thursday, Feb. 21 (7 PM), followed by a home tilt against Bryant on Saturday, Feb. 23 (2 PM). The Bobcats will recognize their senior class members prior to tip-off with the Bulldogs.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets for the 2012-13 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.