BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Ike Azotam posted a double-double with 20 pints and 13 rebounds as the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team opened its season with a n 82-77 win over the University of Hartford. Azotam nearly split his stats in each half as the senior tallied 10 points and six rebounds in the opening half and added 10 and seven in the second half.
The Hawks dominated the first half as they held a double-digit lead for most of the opening 20 minutes. With the score set at 10-9, Hartford went on a 10-0 run to grab its first double-figure lead at 20-9. The Bobcats cut it to nine when Azotam made a basket, but the Hawks answered with three straight to push it to 12 points at 23-11.
Quinnipiac would come as close seven points later in the half, pulling to within 31-24 at the 3:59 mark. But Hartford would regain its double-digit advantage a few minutes later and would bring an 11-point lead into halftime at 42-31. Yolonzo Moore II led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 15 points, making six of his eight shots from the floor.
The Bobcats came out as a different team to start the second half, using an 18-5 run that allowed them to take the lead at 49-47, their first lead since 7-6 at the 16:10 mark of the opening half. Quinnipiac would continue to build on its lead, holding its biggest advantage at 66-51 with six minutes remaining.
Hartford would have one final push and it was a push that nearly brought the team to a victory. The Hawks would battle back to within a point at 75-74 with 44 seconds left after a three-point play by Justin Graham. Quinnipiac received some relief by making three of four free throws over the next 20 seconds that made it a two-possession lead at 78-74 with 23 seconds left.
The Hawks came within a point one more time at 78-77 with 18 seconds remaining but Zaid Hearst made four straight free throws to put the game out of reach at 82-77. Hearst finished the game with 17 points, making all 12 of his free throw attempts.
Moore paced the Hartford offense with 22 points, while Mark Nwakamma added 21 points.