BANGOR, Maine — The Quinnipiac University Bobcats led the country in rebounding a year ago when they averaged 42.1 per game.
And they schooled the University of Maine Black Bears in the art of attacking the glass Monday night en route to an easy 102-61 victory at the Cross Insurance Center.
Quinnipiac improved to 4-1 while Maine fell to 1-4.
The Bobcats generated 26 second-chance points to Maine’s one through their aggressive rebounding. They completely outworked the passive Black Bears, who also did a poor job boxing out which made the Bobcats’ presence in the paint even more dominant.
They outrebounded Maine 60-29 and outscored Maine 55-26 in the paint.
Five Bobcats scored in double figures and three had double-doubles.
Zaid Hearst and Umar Shannon had 19 points apiece; Ousmane Drame had 17; Ike Azotam contributed 14 points and Kasim Chandler chipped in with 12 off the bench. Hearst, Drame and Azotam each corralled 12 rebounds.
Dimitry Akanda-Coronel and Xavier Pollard had 18 points apiece to pace Maine. Shaun Lawton added 11 points. Pollard and Lawton led in rebounds with five each and Pollard also had a game-high four assists.
“We emphasize rebounding a lot,” said Drame. “We work on our positioning, getting to the spot and reading the ball. We have a knack for it. We played pretty well tonight but we could have played better.”
Azotam said their rebounding and defensive play helped compensate for their sub-par shooting especially in the first half when they shot just 38.1 percent. They didn’t hit a 3-pointer until the second half.
Quinnipiac shot 55.3 percent in the second half to finish at 46.3 percent while Maine shot 35.8 percent over the 40 minutes. Akanda-Colonel and Pollard were 13-for-22 from the floor but their teammates were a dismal 6-for-31 (19.4 percent)..
Akanda-Coronel said Maine’s rebounding woes were the result of “ball-watching.”
“We didn’t play with a sense of urgency,” added Pollard. “We weren’t getting to loose balls.”
The Bobcats used a 22-12 spurt to create a 41-29 halftime lead and they broke the game open with a 15-2 run early in the second half after Maine had closed to within 43-36.
Maine was without freshman Garet Beal, who is sidelined with a minor knee ailment.
Pollard’s 15 first-half points and Akanda-Coronel’s eight kept Maine within striking distance.
Quinnipiac grabbed 32 rebounds to Maine’s 18 over the first 20 minutes and the Bobcats looked as though they were going to run the Bears out of the building as they rattled off 14 straight points to manufacture a 16-4 lead.
But Maine rallied with a 13-3 spurt behind Akanda-Coronel’s six straight points and five in a row from Pollard.
Chandler was instrumental in a run of seven straight points as the Bobcats regained control.
He kept a loose ball alive and fed Azotam for a dunk before driving the lane for a short runner and grabbing a rebound and converting a baseline layup.
“[Chandler] is a very good player. He has great vision,” said Azotam.
Maine coach Ted Woodward called Quinnipiac a “good basketball team.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team with three players with double-doubles,” said Woodward. “They had 24 offensive rebounds and that’s a lot. We have to do a much better job under the glass.”
Woodward noted that Quinnipiac’s rebounding dominance also led to his team getting in foul trouble.
“We did a pretty good job defending their first shot but then they’d get offensive rebounds,” said Woodward.
The frustrated Pollard and Akanda-Coronel each received technical fouls with seven minutes left.