KenPom Rank/RPI: 201/194
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY
History between teams: 31st meeting. Quinnipiac leads the all-time series 16-14. Quinnipiac won first meeting this season, 82-74 at TD Bank Sports Center on January 5th. This is the final regular season meeting between the two schools. Quinnipiac is heading to the MAAC Conference next season along with Monmouth.
Who to watch for on Quinnipiac:
#4 Ike Azotam – 6’7″ – F – Jr. – 13.8 ppg/8.2 rpg/49.5 FG%/67.4 FT% – Scored season-high 22 pts vs St. Francis (PA), scored 19 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game.
#1 Zaid Hearst – 6’4″ – G – So. – 10.6 ppg/3.9 rpg/42.1 FG%/77.5 FT% – Scored season-high 18 pts vs Boston University, scored 17 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game.
#23 Ousmane Drame – 6’9″ – F – So. – 8.8 ppg/7.3 rpg/52.1 FG%/61.3 FT% – Scored season and career-high 19 pts vs Mount St. Mary’s, scored 7 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game.
Matchups to watch:
Ike Azotam vs Jamal Olasewere: The battle between these two big forwards should be a good one. Both like to dominate the glass. Both like to attack the basket. Neither is afraid to bang.
The Quinnipiac Scouting Report:
Quinnipiac is arguably one of the hottest team in the NEC at the moment. The Bobcats have won ten of their last thirteen games including a six game winning streak. They beat St. Francis Brooklyn Thursday night to stay on pace with LIU Brooklyn and the other two 11-5 teams. For the winner of this game will be a nice reward. If LIU wins they’ll get either a 2 seed (with a Wagner loss to Monmouth) or a 3 seed. If Quinnipiac wins, they are the 2 seed.
Quinnipiac is far and away the best rebounding team in the NEC. Their 38.8 rebounds per game is five more than the second best rebounding team in the league (Wagner). LIU is third at 31.9 rebounds per game. The rebounding numbers help the Bobcats out a lot since they are the second-worst effective field goal shooting team in the NEC with a 46.3 eFG percentage. LIU is second-best at 53.6 eFG%.
Ike Azotam is the leading scorer for Quinnipiac at 13.8 points per game. His 8.2 rebounds per game ranked him sixth among all NEC players. He is strictly an inside post player. His job is to work inside the paint and grab rebounds. For outside shooting, there is no shortage of perimeter shooters. Starting with Zaid Hearst who is their second leading scorer at 10.6 ppg. Add Evan Conti, Dave Johnson, and Shaq Shannon to the mix and you see that they have plenty of outside firepower.
Joining Azotam as inside presences is Ousame Drame and Jamee Jackson. Drame off the bench scores 8.8 ppg and grabs 7.3 rpg while Jackson as a starter scores 8 ppg and 5.8 rpg. Between Azotam, Drame and Jackson, they have taken all of one three pointer this entire season. All three do their dirty work inside, in the paint.
The Bobcats are fifth in the NEC in scoring offense at 70.8 ppg and have an scored exactly 1 point per possession on offense. The Bobcats are among one of the best defensive teams in the NEC. They are third in the NEC in both scoring defense and points allowed per possession, allowing 70.1 ppg and allowing exactly 1 point per possession. They are third in block shots per game at just under 4 per game with all those big bodies in the frontcourt. They are just as vulnerable to the three as LIU is, giving up 37.8% of three pointers to their opponents.
LIU Brooklyn Report:
LIU Brooklyn is coming off a two point win at home against Sacred Heart on Thursday night. The Blackbirds were lead by freshman E.J. Reed who finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Senior Jamal Olasewere had a difficult night from the field shooting 5 of 18 but scored the go-ahead basket with 11 second remaining. Senior C.J. Garner scored 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting and spent most of the night defending Sacred Heart sharpshooting guard Shane Gibson. Junior Jason Brickman had 12 assists with just one turnover in 36 minutes of play. The LIU bench outscored Sacred Heart’s bench 29-16 thanks to Reed outstanding performance off the bench.
LIU’s free throw shooting over their last seven game is just 63% which way under their 68.9% team free throw percentage for the season. The ten turnovers they had against Sacred Heart was their lowest turnover number in NEC play this season.
Jamal Olasewere needs one point to pass one of the best shooters in LIU history, Charles Jones, to move into third all-time on the LIU Brooklyn scoring list. He is also 29 points away from 1800 for his career. He now also holds the LIU Brooklyn for games played in his career with 125, passing former teammates Kyle Johnson and David Hicks who each played in 124 games for LIU.
According to Ron Ratner, associate commissioner of the NEC, Jason Brickman now owns the junior year NEC assist record with his 246 assists and counting. This record goes along with his freshman and sophomore year NEC assist records.
As the final home game of the regular season, this is Senior Day at the Wellness Center. LIU Brooklyn will honor the five graduation seniors, Brandon Thompson, Booker Hucks, Kenny Onyechi, C.J. Garner and Jamal Olasewere. Hucks, Onyechi and Olasewere have all played their four years at LIU Brooklyn. Garner played the last three years at LIU and Thompson, the last two. This four-year group are part of the winningest group since the Blackbirds joined the NEC back in 1981. They have averaged over 20 wins a season over the last four seasons. They are 54-17 in NEC play over that span. All but Thompson were part of the back-to-back NEC regular season and tournament championships in 2011 and 2012.
LIU’s keys to the game:
– LIU can’t allow Quinnipiac to completely dominate the glass. Lets face facts, LIU will likely not win the rebounding margin in this game but they can’t be a -10 or worse. Without Olasewere in their last meeting, LIU was outrebounded by 14. They can’t afford to lose the rebounding margin by that much.
– LIU has to make their free throws. It is now winning time so that means LIU have to make no worse than 70% of their free throws. They have shot 60% or below from the charity stripe in five of their last eight games.
– Jamal Olasewere needs to bring his A game! Olasewere struggled against Sacred Heart. LIU needs him to come through on the scoring and rebounding end if LIU wants to get out of this one with a win.
– The LIU bench will once again need to step up big. E.J. Reed who is having a late-season surge needs that to continue and guys like Gerrell Martin, Troy Joseph and Booker Hucks need to have productive minutes for the Blackbirds coming off the bench.
– Limit the turnovers. If LIU can’t win the rebounding margin, they got to protect the ball and win the turnover margin and not give the Bobcats extra opportunities. The Bobcats are not a great shooting team but usually take advantage of second and third looks in a possession and will look to break on turnovers with their quick guards.
Ken Pomeroy’s Game Projection:
Ken Pomeroy on his website has LIU Brooklyn beating Quinnipiac by a projected score of 78-74 with a 62% probability of a LIU Brooklyn win.
The Northeast Conference Tournament begins on Wednesday night, March 6 at 7:00pm. Where and whom LIU Brooklyn will play against will be known by around 9pm Saturday night. The postgame recap will have all the information regarding LIU’s quarterfinal round game.