Rebounding 'second nature' for Bobcats


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ST. THOMAS - The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team is not known for its ability to put the ball in the basket. The Bobcats are known more for ripping the ball out of the air.

Rebounds are not the sexy statistic in basketball, but it may be the one thing Quinnipiac prides itself on more than any other facet of the game. Quinnipiac plays Iona College in the Paradise Jam's final first-round game at 10 p.m. tonight.

The Hamden, Conn., school led NCAA Division I in offensive and total rebounding percentages last season.

"Since I've been here, it's been like a second nature - rebounding," junior forward Ike Azotam said. "We work on it hard in practice every day, so when the game comes it's just second nature to outrebound our opponents."

Azotam ranked 20th in the country in offensive rebounds last season and finished with a team-high 9.29 per game. Sophomore Ousmane Drame followed with 7.3 in his rookie year and senior Jamee Jackson averaged 5.1 as a junior.

"A lot of pride," Jackson said. "We work on it every day in practice. We feel like it helps us win games, beating people up on the boards."

Jackson notices frustration mounting in opponents as games progress with Quinnipiac routinely opening significant rebounding margins.

"After a while guys start yelling at each other on the other team, 'Box out! Box out!' " Jackson said. "But it's kind of just second nature for us to crash the boards."

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi.

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