By Matt Eisenberg, QBSN Staff Writer
Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore has seen senior forward Jamee Jackson develop greatly as a player, and in his eyes, possibly into the conference defensive player of the year.
Jackson made a game-saving block with five seconds left to help the Bobcats beat Northeast Conference opponent Fairleigh Dickinson, 58-56, Saturday at TD Bank Sports Center.
With the Bobcats leading by two, Fairleigh Dickinson’s Sidney Sanders Jr. drove down the left side of the hoop and tried to lay the ball in for a tie. Jackson, in the key, reached up and blocked the shot down to Evan Conti.
“That was huge,” Moore said. “You have to be a hungry defender to make that block.”
Moore said he is going to push for Jackson to be the NEC Defensive Player of the Year because of his energy on the court. Jackson ranks 13th in the league in rebounds per game and is fifth in blocks per game.
“I just know he can guard in the post, guard in the perimeter, guard in the post, help defend,” Moore said. “He’s come up with huge blocks in big situations for us just because he plays with so much energy.”
After Conti missed two free throws, Mustafaa Jones’ half-court prayer was off target to give the Bobcats (8-12, 4-4 NEC) their second straight win.
Azotam recorded a double-double and Shaq Shannon scored 12 points off the bench for Quinnipiac, which won consecutive games for the first time all season.
The Bobcats won three of its past four games now, heading into next weekend’s road trip against Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s.
“It feels like we can pick up a couple of steam … we did what we had to do this weekend. We just have to have the same intensity next weekend,” Azotam said.
The Bobcats, ranked in the top 10 in rebound average, outrebounded the Knights 44-32 and recorded 18 offensive rebounds. The Bobcats converted those into 12 second-chance points.
Quinnipiac, which led 32-26 at halftime, saw its once 11-point lead evaporate when the Knights went on a 12-0 run to take a 35-34 lead with 17:05 to play.
Jackson, Zaid Hearst and Evan Conti each scored eight points, while Ousmane Drame recorded six points and eight rebounds.
Kinu Rochford scored 14 points and Sanders Jr. scored 11 for the Knights (7-14, 2-6), who have lost five straight games.