HAMDEN, Conn. –.The University of Hartford men’s basketball team grinded out a 54-50 road win at Quinnipiac on Tuesday evening, scoring its fourth-straight win and its third-straight against a MAAC opponent. At 4-1 overall, the Hawks are off to their best start in 17 years, matching the five-game start of the 1996-97 squad. The Bobcats dip to 2-2 on the season.
Senior Nate Sikma paced an offense that featured eight scorers with 10 points, drilling a key three-pointer with 3:02 left in the game to give the Hawks a seven point lead. Hartford led 24-18 at the half and pushed that advantage to nine with 8:11 left to play. Quinnipiac made it interesting down the stretch, but never came closer than three points of the Hawks.
Both teams shot 32.7 percent on the night, with Hartford making 16-of-49 from the floor and Quinnipiac going 18-of-55. The difference makers for the Hawks proved to be the three-point line and turnovers. Committing a season-low eight turnovers, including just two in the first half, the Hawks forced Quinnipiac into 14 turnovers. In addition, Hartford converted on 8-of-22 three-pointers and kept Quinnipiac without a make from long range in its 15 attempts.
Also contributing to the scoring was freshman John Carroll, who scored nine points, and seniors Mark Nwakammaand Yolonzo Moore II, who each added eight. Nwakamma led the Hawks in rebounding, pulling down a season-best seven.
Quinnipiac was led by Zaid Hearst and Drame Ousmane, who combined for 31 points and 20 rebounds.
Hartford returns to action on Friday evening when it hosts Emerson at 7 p.m.
THE TURNING POINT:.
Ending the first half with a 12-4 run to go up, 24-18, at the intermission, Hartford held on to its lead throughout the entire second half. Quinnipiac made it close, pulling with three at 43-40 with a 6-0 run at the 5:40 mark. Four of those points came from the charity stripe as the Bobcats were in the bonus with over six minutes remaining. With 4:30 to go, junior Taylor Dyson provided the Hawks with a six-point separation with a three-pointer before Nate Sikma answered a Justin Harris putback with a three of his own to make it a 49-42 Hartford lead. A 4-of-6 effort at the line extended the Hawks’ advantage to 53-44, a lead the visiting squad would hold on to despite the Bobcats scoring six of the game’s final eight points.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Both teams shot 32.7 percent for the night, but it was the three-point line that proved to be the difference maker
- Hartford drained 8-of-22 from long range, and held the Bobcats to a 0-for-15 effort from long range
- Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Hawks were holding their opponents to a stingy 22.6 percent conversion rate from downtown
- Senior Nate Sikma posted his first double-digit scoring game of the season, leading the Hawks with 10 points
- Seniors Yolonzo Moore II and Mark Nwakamma each contributed nine points as eight different Hawks scored
- Nwakamma pulled down seven boards, a team-best, but Hartford was outrebounded by Quinnipiac, 12-3
- Turnovers also proved to be a difference maker for the Hawks; committing just two in the first half, Hartford finished with eight on the night while forcing Quinnipiac into 14
- Scoring 12 second-chance points on 13 offensive rebounds, Ousmane Drame and Zaid Hearst each pulled down 10 board for the Bobcats, adding 11 and 20 points, respectively, to each post double-doubles on the night
NEWS AND NOTES:
- With the win at Quinnipiac, Hartford ended a seven-game losing streak to Quinnipiac and picked up its first victory over the Bobcats since 1999
- Hartford has scored three-straight wins over MAAC members, previously defeating Saint Peter’s and Niagara
- Hartford led at halftime (24-18) for the second time this season; in those contests, the Hawks are 2-0
- Pushing their win-streak to four games, the Hawks are off to their best five-game start in 17 years, matching the 1996-97 team’s 4-1 start
- Seniors Yolonzo Moore II and Corban Wroe played in their 100th career game against the Bobcats
Hartford kicks off a busy Thanksgiving weekend with a Friday night home game against Emerson. Tipoff from the Chase Family Arena at the Reich Family Pavilion is slated for 7 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting HartfordHawks.com, by calling 860.768.HAWK, or by visiting the Malcolm and Brenda Berman Athletics Ticket Office.