Quinnipiac Posts 65-61 Victory Over Hartford

Quinnipiac Posts 65-61 Victory Over Hartford

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Ike Azotam scored a team-high 15 points to lead Quinnipiac University to a 65-61 victory over host University of Hartford in a Connecticut 6 game that marked the season opener for both the Bobcats and the Hawks. Mark Nwakamma also tallied 15 points to pace the Hartford offense.

The two teams battled through an aggressive first half that saw the lead change hands six times along with seven ties. Quinnipiac, which led by as many as five points, held the advantage for the majority of the stanza before Hartford pulled ahead in the closing minutes, using four-straight points by sophomore Jamie Schneck to secure the three point halftime lead (32-29).

In the second half, the home team held on to its lead for nearly three-quarters of the period, but Quinnipiac hung around, never allowing the Hawks to gain more than a six point advantage.

The Bobcats were fueled by solid second half performances from Ike Azotam and Garvey Young, who combined for 19 points and 11 rebounds during that final stanza. For the game, the duo contributed 32 points and 17 rebounds, led by Azotam's 17 and nine.

With 11:47 left to play, Hartford was granted its largest lead of the afternoon after Moore drilled a deep three-pointer. That advantage would not be extended however as Garvey Young responded 20 seconds later with Quinnipiac's first made attempt from downtown, bringing the Bobcats back within three points.

More than two minutes went off the clock with neither team reaching the scoreboard before Wes Cole's first basket of the year ended that drought and pushed Hartford's back ahead by five. Hartford slowly saw that lead dissipate over the next minute as Garvey Young's three-point play at the 8:37 mark followed by a pair of made free throws by Ray Kendrick knotted the game up for the ninth time, this time at 49-49, with 7:37 to go.

Nwakamma broke open that tie at 6:53, finishing strong on a lay-up from the left side and drawing a whistle. He came up empty on the ensuing free throw and Jamee Jackson converted on the other end for Quinnipiac, tying the game for what proved to be the final time at 51-51.

After Hartford came up empty on the offensive end, Quinnipiac used back-to-back layups to push ahead by four points with 5:03 left on the clock. Azotam gave the Bobcats their first lead since the 14:51 mark and Jackson followed less than 16 seconds later after blocking a Hawks' shot and going coast-to-coast for the bucket.

The Hawks managed to cut their four-point deficit in half after Nwakamma drained a pair of free throws with 4:14 remaining, but Young again had the answer for the Bobcats. On the next possession, he buried his second three-pointer of the afternoon – just his team's second – to re-extend the Quinnipiac lead to five with less than four minutes to go.

A three-pointer by John Peterson, his first as a Hawk, again closed the gap to two points with 3:34 remaining before Azotam answered again with his sixth point of the half to put the Bobcats ahead by four. Despite going 3-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch, Hartford would not be able to get a stop on the defensive end in the closing minutes.

Hartford pulled down 35 boards, but Quinnipiac finished with 43, including 10 on the offensive end. The Bobcats, who shot 44.6 percent from the floor, had 44 of their 65 points come from inside of the paint. After shooting 50.0 percent in the first half, the Hawks struggled in the second half making 11-of-33 attempts from the floor.

(Story provided by the University of Hartford Sports Information Office)