Quinnipiac men’s basketball wins thriller

Alec Turner

Having the confidence to shoot a game-winning three as time expires is stressful enough, but try to shooting it when starting 2-of-12 from the field.

Graduate transfer Umar Shannon hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left in regulation to give Quinnipiac a 71-68 win over Hampton.

Despite his rough start, Shannon was able to hit the deep three as time expired to improve the Bobcats to 3-1 on the season.

“My teammates and coaching staff kept on telling me to shoot the ball, they were giving me the confidence to shoot,” Shannon said.

The Bobcats struggled during the first half, trailing by 12 at one time. Ike Azotam and Ousmane Drame struggled, shooting for 4-of-14 from the field. The team overall shot a 34.3% from the field in the first half and turned the ball over seven times, which turned into 10 points for the Pirates.

The Pirates continued to stay hot at the beginning of the second half, starting on a 6-1 run and forcing the Bobcats to start off 0-of-8 from the field.

The burst from the Bobcats came from junior guard Zaid Hearst. Hearst led the Bobcats throughout the second half, scoring 14 points in the half, including four 3-pointers to electrify the Bobcats offense.

“Zaid’s will to win was infectious,” Quinnipiac’s head coach Tom Moore said.

As Zaid started to heat up, Azotam and and Drame started to heat up down low. The two big men started to finish their layups down low, and took advantage of their free throws.

The Bobcats recaptured the lead with 1:34 left with Azotam hitting a layup to make the score 66-65. Drame stretched the lead to three following two free throws with 58 seconds left. Hampton’s senior guard Ramon Mercado then hit a three to tie the game up at 68 with 28 seconds left to play.

The final seconds are where Shannon came into play, dribbling the clock out and hitting the game-winning three to seal the Bobcats victory.

The main reason the Bobcats won the game was offensive and defensive rebounding. Led by Azotam and Hearst, who had 13 and 14 rebounds respectively, the Bobcats outrebounded the Pirates 50-35.

“We hung our hat today on what Quinnipiac does, and that is rebound,” Moore said.

Moore was pleased with how the game played out, but he thinks there is room for improvement.

“We have to improve, we need to get out to better starts,” Moore said.

The Bobcats go up north to face the University of Maine on Nov. 25.