KenPom Rank/RPI: 199/192
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY
History between teams: 32nd meeting. Quinnipiac leads the all-time series 16-15. Quinnipiac won first meeting this season, 82-74 at TD Bank Sports Center on January 5th. LIU Brooklyn won last meeting on Saturday 96-90 at Wellness Center. This is the final NEC meeting between the two schools.
Game Notes: Quinnipiac / LIU Brooklyn
Who to watch for on Quinnipiac:
#4 Ike Azotam – 6’7″ – F – Jr. – 13.6 ppg/8.0 rpg/49.7 FG%/67.4 FT% – Scored season-high 22 pts vs St. Francis (PA), scored 6 pts vs LIU 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 18 pts vs LIU Brooklyn in last game.
#23 Ousmane Drame – 6’9″ – F – So. – 9.2 ppg/7.2 rpg/53.0 FG%/62.7 FT% – Scored season and career-high 21 pts vs LIU 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:
So we meet again. That is what both teams will be saying to the other as the same two teams meet for the second time in five days. The loss on Saturday dropped the Bobcats to the six seed and forced them to go on the road for the NEC Tournament quarterfinal instead of hosting a home game instead of being the two-seed and hosting CCSU. Quinnipiac lost two two of their last three games to put them in this position. Before that though, Quinnipiac was arguably one of the hottest teams having one of eight of nine.
Quinnipiac is far and away the best rebounding team in the NEC. They are the number one rebounding team in the nation. Their 38.6 rebounds per game is five more than the second best rebounding team in the league (Wagner). LIU is third at 31.7 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 46.6 eFG percentage. LIU is second-best at 53.9 eFG%.
All-NEC second teamer Ike Azotam is the leading scorer for Quinnipiac at 13.6 points per game. His 8.0 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. He struggled with fouls in the last meeting on Saturday, playing in just 17 minutes and scoring six points. For outside shooting, there is no shortage of perimeter shooters. Starting with Zaid Hearst, who is their second leading scorer at 10.6 ppg. He lit up LIU for 14 first half points before finishing with 18 for the game. Dave Johnson also went on a tear for Quinnipiac scoring 24 points. Add Evan Conti 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 9.2 ppg and grabs 7.2 rpg while Jackson as a starter scores 7.8 ppg and 5.6 rpg. Drame had a career-high scoring game with 21 points in 20 minutes off the bench vs LIU on Saturday. 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 71.4 ppg and have scored 1.01 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 71.0 ppg and allowing 1.01 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 37.7% of three pointers to their opponents.
LIU Brooklyn Report:
LIU Brooklyn did want they had to do in the season’s final two games. Get much needed home wins. Now they host at least one NEC tournament home game. They got a huge effort from their two All-NEC seniors Jamal Olasewere and C.J. Garner. Both finished with career-highs of 33 and 30 points respectively.
Jamal Olasewere on Tuesday was named the 2012-13 NEC Player of the Year making him the second straight LIU player to win the award after teammate Julian Boyd won the award last season.
LIU used a 62 point second half to erase a nine-point halftime deficit and win 96-90 on Senior Day on Saturday against Quinnipiac.
The Blackbirds begin their quest to become the first-ever NEC team to win three straight NEC tournament championships. LIU enters the NEC tournament as the three seed after Wagner beat Monmouth Saturday night to take the two seed.
LIU is 4-3 over their last seven quarterfinal round NEC tournament games although they are 4-1 when the game was at home. LIU is 1-2 all-time vs Quinnipiac in the NEC tournament, 1-1 at home. They won last season’s NEC tournament meeting in the semifinal round 78-75.
LIU’s keys to the game:
– Once again it has to be stated, LIU can’t allow Quinnipiac to completely dominate the glass. LIU did a decent job of not letting that happen although it took a +5 second half rebounding margin just to get the total rebounding margin to be a -6. LIU has to stay close to them in the rebounding margin and have to do a better job denying offensive rebounds. LIU gave up 15 offensive boards to Quinnipiac on Saturday.
– LIU has to make their free throws. Quinnipiac made 81% of their free throws on Saturday so LIU needs to keep pace. They got to once again win the free throw battle and get up more attempts than they give up.
– Can Olasewere and Garner have back-to-back big games? Logic will say no since Quinnipiac will game plan differently this time around to help defend against both Olasewere and Garner having huge games. LIU will need more balanced scoring which will mean they need Thompson, Reed, and Brickman to have better scoring games.
– E.J. Reed had a tough time with Quinnipiac’s front court size. Reed having to guard Drame is a size mismatch which Quinnipiac took advantage of. Same thing with Booker Hucks. They got to do their best to deny them good first looks and keep them away from attacking the glass for second and third chances which Quinnipiac is very good at doing.
– Limit the turnovers. LIU did a good job of that on Saturday committing only eight turnovers. They need to do the same thing if they want to repeat the same result.
Ken Pomeroy’s Game Projection:
Ken Pomeroy on his website has LIU Brooklyn beating Quinnipiac by a projected score of 79-75 with a 63% probability of a LIU Brooklyn win.
It is either a game on Saturday afternoon with a win at a yet to be determined place and time or it could mean the end of the season unless they get an invite to play in either the CBI or CIT tournament.
LIU Athletics has a promo video for tonight’s game. First 400 students gets FREE white T-shirts courtesy of LIU Athletics. Here it is: