For Quinnipiac, the celebration of its seniors started before the puck dropped...
Umar Shannon shoots game-winner with 1.6 seconds left
With 1.6 seconds remaining in a tied game, Umar Shannon (Atlantic City, N.J.) made a game-winning decision.
Two Hampton players covered him outside the 3-point arc. Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) screamed for him to pass the ball from the left side of the court. Shannon stepped left, pulling up deep over two men, and drained a 3-pointer that gave the Quinnipiac Bobcats a 71-68 win over the Hampton Pirates.
Shannon was almost certain he would make the shot.
“I was pretty confident, even though I was struggling all night,” Shannon said. “I still had the confidence to shoot the shot.”
Head coach Tom Moore was also confident in Shannon’s ability to hit the final shot.
“He’s got great separation,” Moore said. “He’s made big shots. I thought it was safe in his hands … and he would at least have the IQ to take it late.”
The rest of the game was not as spectacular as the final shot; it was quite the opposite.
The first half saw a poor performance from the Bobcats offensively as they shot 12-35, which was only bolstered by a 4-5 shooting performance in the final four minutes. They missed many baskets close to the rim, baskets they would need against a Hampton team that is strong in the paint.
Quinnipiac managed to stay close in the half with rebounds, as they converted an impressive 13 offensive rebounds into 12-second chance points.
Hampton played to its strengths and ran the court for easy two-on-one lay-ups and easy points off of Quinnipiac errors, led by Deron Powers and topped off by a Du’Vaughn Maxwell two-hand slam.
“[They turned] every miss and turnover into really good transition opportunities,” Moore said. “Powers and [Brian] Darden did a really good job of pushing it.”
Even with the poor play from Quinnipiac, Hampton led only by six at half, by a score of 38-32.
Hampton came out firing in the second half, while Quinnipiac shot 0-8 to start. The first score for the Bobcats came from an Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) dunk. However, Quinnipiac managed to turn around. Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) hit four 3-pointers in the half to bring some spark offensively, while defensively, Hampton was held to only shooting 36 percent.
Moore had nothing but praise for Zaid Hearst’s performance, complete with 22 points, 14 rebounds and three assists.
“I want to commend Zaid Hearst,” Moore said at the start of the post-game press conference. “His will to win and his energy at a tough point and a long stretch in the game, his will was off the charts.”
Much of Quinnipiac’s success came from rebounding, an essential part of each game, as the Bobcats won the ball off the glass 24 times on offense, leading to 21 second-chance points. Both Hearst and Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) had double-doubles. Four of Quinnipiac’s players were in double digits in scoring, and with Zaid Hearst leading the Bobcats in that category, a different player has led the team in scoring in each of the four games.
The Bobcats move to 2-0 at home and take on the Maine Black Bears in Maine on Wednesday.
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Commentary: Enjoy it, Bobcat fans
V. Steele says:
Best wishes. Now get it done Bobcats!...
Former teammates behind opposing benches at the Frozen Four