Career Nights Power Quinnipiac Past Vermont

Ousmane Drame entered Sunday with 967 career points and ended the day with 1,000. The senior forward poured in a career-high 33 points to reach the milestone and power Quinnipiac to a commanding 89-73 win over Vermont.

Quinnipiac senior Evan Conti drives past Vermont's Dre Wills. (photo courtesy: Bryan Lipiner & Quinnipiac Athletics)
Evan Conti provided the spark for a Quinnipiac team that had recently struggled on offense.  (photo courtesy: Bryan Lipiner & Quinnipiac Athletics)

Drame completed his 28th career double-double by grabbing 13 rebounds and finally stands alone as the all-time leading shot blocker in program history (149) after swatting away three Vermont attempts on Sunday.

Slightly overshadowed by Drame’s spectacle was Evan Conti’s career performance with 22 points. Conti sparked the Bobcats early on, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first half and helping Quinnipiac to a 43-24 halftime lead. After coming up empty on 15 attempts from beyond the arc against Hartford last Tuesday, the Bobcats felt a need to get the energy flowing early this time around.

“We knew we needed to have a lot more energy than we had Tuesday,” Conti said. “Our goal was to just make sure we played harder than Vermont for the whole game. Every four minutes we wanted to win the energy battle, and that’s why we were able to get off to a big lead early.”

Quinnipiac fully controlled the first half, scoring at a clip of 1.29 points per possession while holding Vermont to just 0.75 PPP. At one point the Bobcats held a rebounding advantage of 18-1, and finished the half out-rebounding the Catamounts 27-6.

Quinnipiac senior Ousmane Drame converts a dunk off a nice pass from sophomore Kasim Chandler.
Quinnipiac senior Ousmane Drame converts a dunk off a nice pass from sophomore Kasim Chandler.

The dominance of the senior duo was truly a tale of two halves. Each half contained a stretch of three minutes over which one of either Conti or Drame accounted for all of the Bobcats’ points. Conti knocked down two of his 3-pointers to help account for eight points between 9:02 and 6:12 of the first half while Drame posted 11 of his points between 5:26 and 2:04 of the second half to help Quinnipiac draw away for good.

Drame, a unanimous selection for the preseason All-MAAC First Team, is still recovering from off-season knee surgery and by his own admission isn’t playing at 100% yet.

“Getting low to try and get post position is the thing that’s bothered him the most,” head coach Tom Moore said of Drame. “That cutting and getting low to try to establish low-post position and planting on the knee are all still tough, so it’s going to be weeks probably before he feels great. I’m hoping at some point during the year he’ll be able to say that he’s comfortable.”

Zaid Hearst, 11 points, was the only other Bobcat to score in double digits on the afternoon. The senior guard and team captain has finished in double figures each of the first five games this season.

Vermont managed four players in double figures. The Catamounts were led by Hector Harold and Ryan Pierson with 14 points apiece, though the former fouled out with six minutes left in the contest. Cam Ward shot 2-4 from beyond the arc en route to 12 points while Trae Bell-Haynes rounded out the scoring with 10 points.

Quinnipiac travels back to Albany this Friday to open MAAC play with a road contest at Siena.

Vincent Simone covers Quinnipiac, the MAAC, and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.

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