January 4, 2009

Men's Basketball Falls To Fairleigh Dickinson, 72-68

HACKENSACK, N.J. – Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) compiled a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds, but the Quinnipiac men's basketball team was defeated by Fairleigh Dickinson, 72-68, Saturday night at Stratis Arena. Sean Baptiste scored a career-high 37 points for FDU, which improves to 2-10 (2-1 NEC). The loss is the Bobcats' first in the Northeast Conference, as they fall to 6-7 overall and 2-1 in the league.

James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) and James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) each had 12 points, four assists and three steals, while Feldeine added six rebounds. Cameron Tyler had 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the Knights.

The Bobcats took a four-point lead, 44-40, into the locker room after shooting 51.4 percent (18-35) in the first half. Rutty led the Bobcats with 14 points, while Feldeine had eight points, three assists and three steals in the initial stanza. Fairleigh Dickinson shot 53.6 percent (15-28), thanks in large part to Baptiste and Tyler. Baptiste scored 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while Tyler tallied 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Tyler also dished out five first-half assists.

The Knights continued their torrid pace of the first half early in the second half, while the Bobcats went ice cold. Baptiste scored 12 points in the first six minutes of the second half, part of an 18-4 run to open the period for the Knights.

The Bobcats defense eventually settled in, holding the Knights to 35.0 percent (7-20) for the second half. But the Quinnipiac offense never regained its first-half form, shooting just 22.9 percent (8-35) in the final 20 minutes.

Quinnipiac whittled what was once a 10-point Knights lead down to one on a pair of Feldeine free throws with 1:13 remaining. Following an FDU timeout, Johnson forced a held ball with the possession arrow in Quinnipiac's favor. But the Bobcats offense couldn't connect on the other end.

For the game, the Knights outshot the Bobcats, 45.8 percent (22-48) to 37.1 percent (26-70) from the floor, and 35.7 percent (5-14) to 10.0 percent (1-10) from three-point range. The Bobcats had their best showing from the free throw line, taking an 88.2 percent (15-17) to 76.7 percent (23-30) advantage. Quinnipiac outrebounded FDU, 39-37.

The Bobcats return to action Thursday, when they return home to face Robert Morris. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.