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Quinnipiac men’s basketball defeats Niagara
On Saturday evening at TD Bank Sports Center, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team’s starting lineup all went into double figures in an 85-71 victory over the Niagara Purple Eagles.
With the win, the Bobcats improve to 11-6 overall (6-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). Quinnipiac also moved up to second place in the MAAC with a Manhattan loss to Fairfield.
The main factor in the win was rebounding. The Bobcats outrebounded the Purple Eagles 56-27, including 21 offensive rebounds which led to 23 second chance points, compared to Niagara’s two.
“Rebounding is what creates our offensive opportunities, it’s our calling card at this point in the season,” forward Ike Azotam said.
Azotam and Ousmane Drame both recorded double-doubles on Saturday, each notching 14 points and 14 rebounds.
“I think Ike and Ous were the difference in the game with their great big man presence,” Bobcats’ head coach Tom Moore said.
The guards had their hands full on defense, going up against the nation’s leading scorer, Antoine Mason. Prior to the game, Mason was averaging 27.6 points per game. Despite Mason scoring 28 on Saturday, Moore was very pleased with how his team defended the junior guard.
“He scored most of his points when the game was already decided, and I think both Zaid Hearst and James Ford did an outstanding job covering him on and off the ball,” Moore said.
The Bobcats had a comfortable 14 point lead at halftime, extending their lead to as high as 18 in the second half, but the Purple Eagles began to chip away. Led by Mason and Tajhere McCall, Niagara got the lead down to eight.
Umar Shannon kept the Bobcats’ lead afloat by driving to the hoop and getting to free throw line, where he shot 9-of-10.
Along with Azotam and Drame, Shaq and Umar Shannon, and Zaid Hearst scored in double figures. Umar had a team-high 16 points, Zaid had 14 points and nine boards on the day, and Shaq 12 points.
James Ford also gave minutes to team off the bench, getting seven points and defending on the talented Mason.
The Bobcats have a tough road trip this week as they travel to Iona and Manhattan on Friday and Saturday.