Quinnipiac (6-5) at Monmouth (7-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MAC (4,100) -- West Long Branch, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: Quinnipiac 3-1, Monmouth 5-3. Away Record: Quinnipiac 2-4, Monmouth 2-4. Neutral Record: Quinnipiac 1-0, Monmouth 0-0. Conference Record: Quinnipiac 1-1, Monmouth 1-2. Series Record: Quinnipiac leads, 15-13.
GAME NOTES: Quinnipiac will try to snap a two-game skid by playing against a team the Bobcats have dominated over the last three years, the Monmouth Hawks.
Quinnipiac has won the last six meetings and 10 of the last 12 against the Hawks, as the two former Northeast Conference rivals now play a members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The last time Monmouth claimed victory in this series was Jan. 2, 2010. This will be the first of two meetings between the teams in the next two weeks, as they will play again on Jan. 16 in Connecticut.
A snow storm postponed Quinnipiac's game with Iona on Thursday. That contest has been rescheduled for Monday. The Bobcats haven't played since last Sunday when they suffered a 76-68 loss at Oregon State. Umar Shannon paced Quinnipiac (6-5) with 18 points. Ike Azotam added 17 and Ousmane Drame (11 points, 12 rebounds) posted a double-double. Despite the loss, Quinnipiac still won the battle of the boards, 43-36.
The Bobcats are on an amazing streak, having not been outrebounded in their last 43 games. That's the longest streak in the nation. They lead the country in offensive boards (17.2 rpg) and are averaging 46.4 rpg, with a +12.6 margin. That's mainly because Quinnipiac has three of the four top board crashers in the MAAC, led by Azotam (10.2 rpg). Joining the rebounding party are Zaid Hearst (8.7 rpg) and Drame (8.3 rpg).
Quinnipiac has the luxury of having five players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Azotam (16.4 ppg). Hearst (13.4 ppg), Drame (12.6 ppg), Shannon (11.7 ppg) and reserve Kasim Chandler (10.0 ppg) are also part of the balanced scoring attack for the Bobcats. The issue for Quinnipiac has been perimeter shooting, as the squad is making just 28.7 percent of its 3-point shots, which is next-to-last in the conference.
Monmouth has won four of its last five games, including Thursday's 63-59 home decision versus Siena. Josh James led the way with 11 points, Max DiLeo added 10 points and six steals, and Tyrone O'Garro tallied eight points and eight rebounds for the Hawks.
Even though they are at .500 this season, the first one in the MAAC for the Hawks, they are having a solid run. They have no seniors, four juniors and a total of 12 underclassmen on the roster. Deon Jones (16.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) leads the way for Monmouth. Guard Andrew Nicholas (14.4 ppg) and Justin Robinson (9.1 ppg) are also key contributors for a team that shoots 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. Monmouth, though, makes only 63.7 percent of its attempts from the charity stripe, which ranks the club last in the MAAC.
This will be a tough game for the Bobcats to win, considering they will be playing on the road for a fifth straight time and they had short preparation following the snowstorm postponement. The young Hawks are a considerably better 3-point shooting team, which could result in Monmouth snapping the series losing skid.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Monmouth 72, Quinnipiac 71
01/04 10:34:08 ET