By Thomas Albanese, QBSN Staff Writer
The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team defeated the Robert Morris by a final score of 63-61. Sophomore Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) led all players in the game scoring 18 points along with six rebounds for the Bobcats.
“It feels great to help my team win tonight. Every game is so important for us right now, so we have to go out there and get every one of them,” Conti said.
Two players from Boston, Massachusetts, Ike Azotam and Ousmane Drame each earned double-doubles for Quinnipiac, contributing a combined 20 points along with 25 rebounds.
The Bobcats started the game on the wrong note against the Colonials, trailing 17-4 in the middle of the first half, but the Bobcats knew they had more fight in them.
“We played the first six-seven minutes of this game as if we were still stuck against them. Robert Morris was terrific to start the game, but then we settled in with a few great defensive stands and fought back hard against them,” said head coach Tom Moore.
Turnovers were a huge part of the Bobcat’s struggles early in the game and they would finish the game with 23 of them.
Quinnipiac made it interesting with less than 10 minutes left in the first half, going on a 9-3 run to cut the Colonials’ lead to single digits. Eventually, the Bobcats would take a 30-29 lead at the break.
The second half went back-and-forth between by both teams. An early lead in the second half for the Bobcats was taken away quickly by a 10-0 run by the Colonials. Quinnipiac barely outscored Robert Morris in the second half, 33-32.
Conti made two key shots under a minute left in the game to help the Bobcats cross the finish line first with the victory.
“He has a drive to get better and better each game and he has built a great sophomore year for himself,” Moore said. “He built his body to be in great shape for this season thanks to our coaching staff’s strength and conditioning program.”
A tough loss for Robert Morris did however bring forth big performances by Russell Johnson, Lucky Jones and Coron Williams. Johnson led the way for the Colonials with sixteen points and seven rebounds. Jones and Williams each contributed 12 points for the Colonials as well.
Despite a higher number of turnovers, the Bobcats did outrebound the Colonials 45-25, as they were able to create many second-chance opportunities with 19 offensive rebounds.
“Coming into this game, we knew we had to be at our best as far as grabbing rebounds both offensively and defensively against a great team,” said Drame.
This big victory has many of Quinnipiac’s players, especially Conti believing that their success will continue.
“This is definitely a confidence booster for us right now and we are going to build on this and get better and better throughout the rest of the season.”
Despite being under .500 all-time against the Colonials, Quinnipiac is now 3-0 in the team’s last three games at the Bank against Robert Morris.
The Bobcats move to 7-5 in the NEC (11-13 overall) with the victory and Robert Morris falls to 9-4 in the NEC (17-9 overall).
Quinnipiac will return to the TD Bank Sports Center this Saturday to welcome St. Francis University. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.