Men's Basketball Begins Western Pennsylvania Road Trip Thursday

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-13, 6-6 NEC) at

Saint Francis (Pa.) University Red Flash (5-18, 2-10 NEC)

Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 – 7 p.m.

DeGol Arena – Loretto, Pa.

Western Pennsylvania Weekend

The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team heads to western Pennsylvania for a pivotal two-game stretch this weekend. First on the docket is Saint Francis (Pa.), Thursday, before a Saturday night tilt at Robert Morris. The Bobcats are coming off a non-conference setback to Bryant in their last game, Saturday. After splitting its first eight games, Saint Francis has dropped 13 of its last 14 contests, including a 65-58 loss to the Bobcats, Jan. 10, in Hamden. The Bobcats lead the all-time series, 15-6, including wins in the last three.

Scouting the Saint Francis (Pa.) Red Flash

Devin Sweetney, who missed the first meeting with the Bobcats due to a hand injury, has returned and leads the Red Flash at 15.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Mislav Jukic is second in points (11.0) and rebounds (5.0). Cale Nelson, who's produced at a 8.1 points per game clip, has dished out a team-best 4.8 assists per contest. Marquis Ford has contributed 9.0 points per game, while Kyle Jackson has been highly efficient, shooting 47.7 percent from the floor, 42.9 percent from long range and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe while scoring 5.3 points per game.

On The Air

Thursday's game can be heard live on the Bobcats Radio Network. Steve Degler will have the play-by-play call with Greg Ott on color.

Last Time Against Saint Francis (Pa.)

Bryan Geffen erupted for a career-high 24 points as the Bobcats erased an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat Saint Francis, 65-58, Jan. 10, at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.James Feldeine also added 17 points and Justin Rutty posted a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds. Mislav Jukic and Marquis Ford each scored 19 points for the Red Flash, while Kyle Jackson added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Last Time Out Against Bryant

James Feldeine led Quinnipiac with 15 points, but the Bobcats were defeated by hot-shooting Bryant, 72-68. The Bulldogs shot 55.3 percent, including 61.9 percent (13-21) from the floor and 100 percent (3-3) from long range in the second half. Justin Rutty contributed a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds, while James Johnson (14) and Bryant Geffen (12) also scored in double figures.

Double-Digit Double-Doubles

Justin Rutty compiled his NEC-leading 10th double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds, Feb. 7, against Bryant. No other Bobcat has more than three double-doubles this season.

In The Bobcats' Defense...

Quinnipiac ranks first in the NEC in field-goal percentage defense (.398) in conference games. Robert Morris is right behind the Bobcats at .399, while the next closest team, Mount St. Mary's, comes in at .422.

Lucky Two In The Top Seven

Justin Rutty and James Feldeine are the only two players in the NEC ranked in the top seven in both scoring and rebounding average. Rutty averages nearly a double-double at 15.6 points (6th) and 9.6 rebounds (1st), while Feldeine is second in scoring (16.9) and seventh in rebounding (6.3).

One More For Second

James Johnson has started his first 23 games in a Quinnipiac uniform, becoming just the third Bobcat to do so at the Division I level. Johnson tied Bill Romano's 23 straight starts in 1998-99 with his start against Bryant. Jared Grasso holds the QU record with 71 straight starts to begin his career.

Rutty Nationally Ranked

In addition to leading the Northeast Conference with a 61.1 field-goal percentage, Justin Rutty ranks 10th in the nation. His 106 offensive rebounds and 4.82 offensive rebounds per game rank second, while his 9.6 boards per game are 24th.

Geffen Finds Consistency

After scoring more than 10 points just twice in the Bobcats' first 14 games, Bryan Geffen has added a second digit to his scoring total in seven of the last nine games. He's averaged 12.2 points during the span.

Second To One Hundred

Justin Rutty grabbed his 100th offensive rebound of the season at Sacred Heart, becoming just the second Quinnipiac player to reach 100 offensive boards at the Division I level, joining Jeremy Bishop (117 in 2001-02). He also joined just 11 other NEC players to grab 100 on the offensive glass since the league started tabulating offensive boards in 1997-98.

Giveth, But Can't Taketh Away

James Johnson is fifth in the NEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.51. He's dished out 101 assists (4.5 apg, 5th-NEC) while turning it over just 67 times.

Dunkin' Dutchman Comparison

Rutty's shooting accuracy (61.1%) also compares well to the best-ever field-goal percentage by a sophomore in the NEC - Marist's Rik Smits, who earned NBA All-Star status during his 12-year career with the Indiana Pacers, after shooting 62.2 percent for the Red Foxes in 1985-86.

Rutty Reaches Elite Status

Justin Rutty ranks in the top six in the NEC among scorers (15.6 ppg, 6th) and rebounders (9.6 rpg, 1st), becoming the only player in the league currently ranked in the top six of both categories. In addition, his 4.82 offensive rebounds per game rank first in the NEC by a 2.04 offensive rebounds per game margin.

Feldeine Fillin' It Up

While the Bobcats lost DeMario Anderson to graduation and his personal double-digit points streak ended at an NEC-record 48 games, James Feldeine has taken over Anderson's role as a consistent double-figure scorer. Feldeine has reached a 10th point in each of the Bobcats' 23 games this season.

Floor General Johnson

James Johnson has taken control of the point guard position in just his freshman season. Johnson has averaged 10.6 points, 4.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals while adjusting seamlessly to the college game. He's started his first 23 collegiate games, becoming just the third Quinnipiac player to do so at the Division I level.

On the Rebound

The Bobcats offensive rebounding prowess (15.13 per game - 1st-NEC) has resulted in holding opponents to 31.8 rebounds per game (2nd-NEC) and a +6.1 rebounding margin (1st-NEC).

Fine To Be Feldeine

James Feldeine currently ranks among the NEC's best in several categories. He's 2nd in scoring at 16.9 points per game and 7th in rebounds (6.3). His 4.57 defensive boards per game rank 8th and his 74.7 free-throw percentage is 10th. His 1.70 steals per game are tied for 5th and his 1.52 three-point field goals made per game are tied for 14th.

Regular For Rutty

Justin Rutty has shot 61.1 percent (151-for-247) this season (1st-NEC), besting his NEC-leading 59.0 percent average of a year ago.

On Deck

The Bobcats return to action Saturday, when they conclude a two-game road trip through western Pennsylvania at Robert Morris. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Charles L. Sewell Center.