Hearst, Drame lead Quinnipiac to impressive 73-59 win against Manhattan

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Shanna McCarriston

Photo courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

The stage was set at Lender Court as a crowd of more than 3,000 and ESPNU were present to see the Quinnipiac Bobcats pick up their third-consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win, defeating the Manhattan Jaspers 73-59 Friday night.

Manhattan led only once in the contest, an early free-throw, as Quinnipiac kept the play aggressive. “That was a big win against an opponent we have a lot of respect for,” Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore said after the game. “All these conference wins obviously are really big.”

Senior dominance was the motif in Hamden Friday night, as forwards Zaid Hearst and Ousmane Drame led way in the final 15.  Hearst notched 23 points on various off-angle shots late and Drame corralled a season-high 19 rebounds.  The 6-foot-9 potential-NBAer also had 12 points on the night.

The two stole the show at the 8:15 mark in the second half, when Hearst leaped in desperation to secure a block, taking it coast to coast only to have his missed jumper slammed home by a sprinting Drame. Hearst described the atmosphere all night as “off the charts.”

And so was he. The senior held the touted Shane Richards scoreless tonight, something Hearst was unaware of until moments before stepping to the podium.

“Coach Moore just told me,” he said with a grin.

The seniors owned the second half putting up numbers in all categories, with Drame noting this is something to be expected. “We’ve been through a lot of games where we’ve got two-point losses, one-point, three points. Most of our losses have been like that,” he said. “We knew as seniors it would come down to us every time towards the end of the game to will the team to victory.”

Evan Conti, who a few weeks back lost his starting spot, had 11 points including two momentum-changing 3-pointers late.  Much of those points came with less than 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Although Moore is not known for giving freshman many minutes historically,  Ayron Hutton and Chaise Daniels, both freshman, have established themselves as perennial starters. Hutton had the only other Quinnipiac 3-pointer of the game, and Daniels shined in the interior with 11 points.

“We haven’t had any complaints about minutes, playing time, shots or anything like that with this group all year,” Moore said after the game.  The only players getting more minutes than the two freshmen Friday were Hearst and Drame.  Kasim Chandler went six-for-seven on free throws and the sophomore got a respectable 27 minutes against a tough Jaspers press.

As expected, Ashton Pankey and Emmy Andujar were role-players for Manhattan with 18 and 25 points respectively.  Andujar also led the Jaspers in rebounds with 12, as the team flexed an impressive 20 offensive boards on the evening.

With this win Quinnipiac, has now won five of its last six games and will play Canisius next Friday. Quinnipiac is now 3-1 against Manhattan since debuting in the MAAC, as the two face off once more March 1.  Meanwhile, the Jaspers have now lost two-straight, adding to the circle of parity existing within the conference.