Men’s basketball wins fourth straight

Nick Solari

Winning five of their last six coming into Saturday’s game against Saint Francis (Pa.), the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team had put themselves right back in the thick of things in the NEC conference standings.

They helped their cause even more in an afternoon game at the TD Bank Sports Center.

Ike Azotam scored his 1,000 career point, as Quinnipiac (12-13, 8-5 NEC) outrebounded the Red Flash 49-23, and the Bobcats routed Saint Francis 71-55.

“We tried to speed the game up initially,” head coach Tom Moore said. “Early on, we got ourselves going with the press. We looked really big inside as well, our big guys did what they were supposed to do. We’re starting to hopefully peak at the right time.”

Azotam became only the 26th player in Quinnipiac history to hit 1,000 points, and the 10th player to reach that feat during the Division I era. He finished the game with a team-high 17 points, also adding six rebounds.

“He’s just a strong, consistent presence at that basket,” Moore said. “He has a calmness about him. He finishes with authority more and more now, which is good to see. He’s really been a great tribute to our program. He’s just a great, hard working kid. I love the path he’s on as a basketball player and a young man.”

“I wasn’t trying to think about it too much, but my teammates kept talking about it,” Azotam said after the game. “It’s a good feeling. It just shows the hard work and dedication I put in, and how great my teammates and this program are.”

Ousmane Drame flirted with another double-double, ripping down 15 rebounds and scoring nine points.

Quinnipiac outrebounded Saint Francis 49-23. Tom Moore’s squad has now won the rebound margin in 25 straight games.

Evan Conti also filled the stat sheet with 13 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. It was his fifth straight game scoring in double figures.

“I try to just get better,” Conti said. “Last year it was all new to me, I really enjoyed the journey and being a part of the team. This year I’m just trying to continue to stay consistent, and really be a force. My hard work is paying off.”

The other player in double figure’s for Quinnipiac was Zaid Hearst, who dropped 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Hearst was 4-of-7 from long distance.

The Bobcats held Saint Francis to 37.7 percent from the field, including 28 percent in the first half.

With the win they have now won four straight. They look to continue their recent success Thursday night when they travel to conference foe Sacred Heart.