FAIRFIELD, Conn. James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) compiled a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead five Quinnipiac players in double-figures as the Bobcats defeated Sacred Heart, 66-64, Thursday night at the William H. Pitt Center. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 10-12 (6-6 NEC), while the Pioneers fall to 10-12 (7-5 NEC).
Jeremy Baker (Washington, D.C.) scored 11 points in his return to the Bobcats lineup after missing the last 17 games due to injury. Louis Brookins (Silver Spring, Md.), who also returned from injury after missing the last four games, added 10 points. Bryan Geffen (Queens, N.Y.) and James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) also contributed 10 points apiece.
Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.), saddled with foul trouble in the first half, finished with nine points and three rebounds, including an offensive board to give him 100 for the season. He becomes just the second Quinnipiac player to grab 100 offensive rebounds in a single season and the 12th NEC player since the conference began compiling the stat in 1997-98.
Joey Henley and Corey Hassan both compiled double-doubles for Sacred Heart. Henley scored a game-high 21 points and added 11 rebounds, while Hassan scored 20 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Pioneers led for the majority of the first 31 minutes. Despite five ties in that span, the Bobcats broke through for their only lead, 8-7, with 15:09 left in the first half. A Feldeine layup gave Quinnipiac its first lead of the second half with 8:25 remaining. The lead exchanged hands four times in the next two minutes and two Hassan free throws tied the game, 50-50, with 4:56 left.
After a Johnson three from the left corner put the Bobcats up by three with 4:39 remaining, Henley made a layup and a free throw to tie the game at 53-53 with 3:22 left. Quinnipiac again broke the tie with a three-pointer, this time from Feldeine. The Pioneers wouldn't go away, however, tying the game once again on Hassan's jumper with 1:58 remaining.
Baker gave the Bobcats the lead for good with a 10-foot jumper off a curl in the paint with 1:31. The Quinnipiac lead extended to as many as five points on Edward Zajac's (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) two free throws with 38 seconds left. The Pioneers cut the Quinnipiac advantage to one on Hassan's banked-in three-pointer with seven seconds. Geffen then made a pair of free throws with six seconds left to make the Quinnipiac cushion three.
On the ensuing possession with the Bobcats over the 10-foul limit, Moore instructed his team to foul Sacred Heart, rather than allow a three-point attempt. Geffen fouled Chauncey Hardy with 2.6 seconds left. After a miss on the first, Hardy tried to miss the second to allow for an offensive rebound and three-point attempt to tie. But the attempt banked in and the Bobcats were able to inbound the ball as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
A tightly-played first half concluded with the Pioneers in possession of a 31-27 lead. Each team had two players with eight points at the break, with Geffen and Brookins leading the Bobcats and Hassan and Henley pacing Sacred Heart. The Bobcats played all but six minutes of the first half without Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.), who was whistled for consecutive fouls at the 14:06 and 13:55 marks. The Pioneers took their largest lead of the half, seven points, on three straight trifectas from Howard, Gibson and Hassan at the 12:15 mark. The first half saw five tie scores.
For the game, the Bobcats outshot the Pioneers, 38.9 percent (21-54) to 37.1 percent (23-62) from the floor, 38.5 percent (5-13) to 36.8 percent (7-19) from long range, and 79.2 percent (19-24) to 73.3 percent (11-15) from the free-throw line. Sacred Heart took a 40-37 advantage on the boards.
The Bobcats return to action, Saturday, when they play host to future NEC foe Bryant. Opening tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.