Each of the four previous meetings between Boston University and Quinnipiac had been decided by a margin of fewer than seven points, and Monday evening’s contest followed suit. In a back and forth affair which saw 13 ties and 12 lead changes, the score was knotted at 66 with 0:17 to play when D.J. Irving dribbled down the court and hit a 3-point jumper with just three seconds remaining to lift the Terriers over the Bobcats 69-66 at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, CT. Irving finished with a game-high 22 points while going 4-5 from beyond the arc.
Quinnipiac’s defense couldn’t contain BU’s offense all night as the Terriers shot 49% from the floor and 41% from beyond the arc while the Bobcats shot 40% for the night and just 25% from 3. After allowing just 0.77 points per possession in their last contest at Maine, the Bobcats allowed nearly a point per Terrier possession Monday evening. Although the Bobcats controlled the rebounding battle 47-27 and dominated the offensive glass to the tune of an 18-2 advantage, they allowed the Terriers to drive to the basket and score 32 of their points in the paint. Much of QU’s offense was generated through their success in the offensive rebounding category, as they scored 22 points off of 2nd chance shots.
“I thought Ike [Azotam] and Ousmane [Drame] could have been bigger and played them out to the corner of the backboard a little more,” said head coach Tom Moore about his team’s interior defense. “I thought they individually beat us a couple of times in the second half. Ousmane got beat by smaller guys a few times. We were going big, they were going small, and we just didn’t make enough stops in the second half.”
While Irving led the team in points and gets credit for nailing the game-winning shot, the Terriers received many other notable contributions. Sophomore guard Maurice Watson Jr. paced BU for much of the first half and ended the game with 17 points and 7 assists. Junior guard Malik Thomas added 11 points and 4 rebounds off the bench while senior forward Dom Morris chipped in with 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Ike Azotam, Ousmane Drame, and Zaid Hearst all achieved double-doubles for the second consecutive game for Quinnipiac. Drame led the Bobcats with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Azotam brought down 15 rebounds to go with his 14 points and Zaid Hearst contributed 10 points and 10 boards. For Azotam, it was his 30th career double-double as he approaches Justin Rutty’s school record of 41. Umar Shannon also hit 3 shots from downtown on his way to 15 points on the night.
Quinnipiac opens their first season of MAAC play on Friday, December 6th when they host in-state rival Fairfield at 7 p.m.
Vincent Simone will be chronicling Quinnipiac’s move to the MAAC and helping cover the conference this season for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone