When Lance Brown woke up this morning, he was ineligible to play basketball for Quinnipiac until next season per NCAA transfer rules. Then after a five-hour drive from his friend’s house in New Jersey to Hanover, N.H., Brown played his first 13 minutes of basketball sporting Bobcat blue and yellow in a 69-52 win against Dartmouth.
Brown, a starting guard for Fordham last year, had filed a waiver with the NCAA to avoid skipping this season. The NCAA cleared Brown to play today, and he was ready with his shoes and ankle bracelet in the trunk of his car.
“I got a call from Coach [Eric] Eaton at 1:46 p.m. I got on the road at 1:58 p.m.,” Brown said. “I asked him, ‘are you serious?’ He said, ‘I wouldn’t joke around about something like this. Get in your car and come on down.’ ”
He arrived at Leede Arena shortly before tipoff and entered the game with 6:11 left in the first half. He registered his first two points midway through the second half on a layup, and finished the game with seven points, five rebounds and a steal.
“He was stretching on our bench,” Quinnipiac assistant coach Sean Doherty said. “For him to get in the game and do what he did with emotion and enthusiasm was something special to see. I’m just so happy for him; he’s going to be a big boost to our team.”
Brown said he can help Quinnipiac on both sides of the ball.
“I’m the type of player that’s the X-factor,” Brown said. “I crash boards, I’m real aggressive, I’m an athletic wing, I can get to the basket, I can rebound, I can jump, and I can guard positions one through four.”
Another new face on the Bobcats, freshman forward Ike Azotam, helped carry Quinnipiac to its third win of the season. Azotam finished a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor and added a free throw for 15 points, a career-high. Junior and senior guards James Johnson and Deontay Twyman, respectively, posted 15 points apiece.
Dartmouth held Quinnipiac senior forward Justin Rutty to just two points. Doherty said he and the rest of the coaching staff are holding him out of practice as he is recovering from hip surgery he underwent after last season.
“He wants to practice,” Doherty said. “We’re holding him out just to make sure everything is healing properly. But he’s coming along strong. He’ll be back for the next night.”
Rutty pulled down 10 rebounds, went 0-for-1 from the floor and 2-for-5 from the free throw line.
The Bobcats return to the hardwood next Monday against Maine, the start of a five-game homestand.