Quinnipiac (15-15) at Long Island (17-13)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center (2,500) --
Brooklyn, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Quinnipiac 8-6, LIU 11-4.
Away Record: Quinnipiac 6-7, LIU 6-9. Neutral Record: Quinnipiac 1-2, LIU 0-0.
Conference Record: Quinnipiac 11-7, LIU 12-6. Series Record: LIUleads, 16-15.
GAMES NOTES: Looking to make history the two time defending Northeast
Conference Tournament champion Long Island Blackbirds will begin their title
defense against the Quinnipiac Bobcats as the league tourney gets underway at
the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center on Wednesday.
This will be the second game in the last five days between these teams. In the
regular-season finale on Saturday, Long Island captured a 96-90 win in a
conference shootout. The teams split the season series, while the Blackbirds
own a slim, 16-15 edge all-time.
Quinnipiac has been to the semifinals or further in each of the last four NEC
Tournaments but the Bobcats have still yet to secure a conference crown. This
season the Bobcats were an even 15-15 overall, securing the sixth seed in the
tourney with an 11-7 record against league foes. The Bobcats did stumble with
two losses to close out the regular season.
Long Island won its second straight NEC tourney crown last season and if it
can make a run to a third it would become the first team in conference history
to win three straight. The Blackbirds won their last two games of the season
to finish 17-13 and 12-6 in league play. The Blackbirds tied with Wagner and
Bryant for second in the conference but had to settle for the No. 3 seed due
to conference tiebreaker procedures.
In the regular-season finale between these teams both teams had impressive
offensive showings. The Bobcats shot at a 49.3 percent clip from the field and
were led by 24 points from Dave Johnson. They also had a 37-31 edge in
rebounds and a 14-4 advantage in second chance points.
Not only did the Bobcats fight to even in the standings but also on the
scoreboard this season. They own a slim (+0.4) margin on the campaign by
scoring 71.4 points per game, shooting just under 43 percent from the field.
The Bobcats are a remarkable team on the boards as they rank at the very top
of the country in rebounds (41.9 pg). Ike Azotam (13.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and
Ousmane Drame (9.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are pillars in the frontcourt and two of the
better rebounders in the conference. Zaid Hearst (10.9 ppg) is the only other
double-figure scorer on the roster.
Long Island rallied from a nine-point deficit at halftime to defeat
Quinnipiac. The Blackbirds were on fire in the second half as they connected
on 67.9 percent from the field, while hitting 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Jamal Olasewere (33 points, 10 rebounds ) and C.J. Garner (30 points) each had
tremendous games in the win.
Olasewere (19.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg) was just named NEC Player of the Year earlier
this week after posting a sensational senior season. The 6-foot-7 forward had
seven double-doubles in seven league tilts and ranked among the top five
players in the conference in both points and rebounds. Garner (14.8 ppg) has
been scoring just fine on his own as another prolific scorer for the high-
octane Blackbirds. Long Island leads the NEC in scoring (78.2 ppg) with that
mark good enough for 10th in the country. The Blackbirds are also second in
the NEC in assists (15.2 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.473).
Led by Olasewere, the Blackbirds have been unstoppable on the offensive end of
the floor. As long as they can get enough stops on the defensive end, they
should roll on to the next round.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Long Island 88, Quinnipiac 80
03/06 10:35:02 ET