February 21, 2009

Men's Basketball Defeats Long Island, 78-73

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) compiled his Northeast Conference leading 11th double-double with 23 points and 16 rebounds as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team defeated Long Island, 78-73, Saturday afternoon at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center. With the win, the Bobcats (13-14, 9-7 NEC) take a season sweep of the Blackbirds, become the only NEC team to beat LIU on its home court this season and snap the Blackbirds' 10-game home winning streak. LIU falls to 14-13 (10-6 NEC).

Jeremy Baker (Washington, D.C.) scored 13 points for the Bobcats, while James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) and Bryan Geffen (Queens, N.Y.) chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Bobcats shot a season-high 51.7 percent from the floor (31-60).

Jaytornah Wisseh led all scorers with 27 points, including a perfect 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, for LIU. Kyle Johnson added 11 points, while Aurimas Adomaitis scored all of his 10 points in the first half.

"I'm really proud of our defensive intensity in the second half," said Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore. "It was great to have Justin Rutty back, physically, and more like himself. He aggravated his hip injury last Monday and we really only felt like we could see him back to his old self in the last few days. He was immense inside, both scoring and rebounding the ball. I thought a lot of our defensive problems in the first half were a byproduct bad offensive. Give LIU credit for how hard they defend. They're very athletic and work very hard through screens. Jim Ferry does a great job with his team."

The Blackbirds led by as many as six points early in the second half. But Feldeine's layup off a dish from Eric Coggins (Syracuse, N.Y.) tied the game at 44-44 with 15:42 left to play. The Blackbirds re-established a five-point lead on three occasions until the Bobcats went on an 8-0 run, capped by Baker's lay-up off a Rutty assist with 7:45 remaining, giving Quinnipiac a 60-57 lead.

LIU scored the next four points to take its final lead of the game, 61-60, with 6:49 left in regulation. Rutty made one-of-two free throws to tie the game and Geffen nailed a three-pointer from the right wing with 4:34 to put the Bobcats on top for good.

The Bobcats extended the advantage to as many as five points on two occasions before Wisseh single-handedly brought the Blackbirds back to within one point, 74-73, with 18 seconds left. He connected on a conventional three-point play before making a pair of free throws.

But James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) and Feldeine made four straight free throws to put the game on ice.

For the game, the Bobcats outshot the Blackbirds, 51.7 percent (31-60) to 41.7 percent (25-60) from the floor. The Blackbirds took a 43.8 percent (7-16) to 15.4 percent (2-13) advantage from long range, as well as a 76.2 percent (16-21) to 66.7 percent (14-21) edge from the charity stripe. Quinnipiac outrebounded LIU, 38-35.

A first-half marked by double-digit runs concluded with the Blackbirds leading by four, 40-36. After a back-and-forth first four minutes, the Bobcats went on a 12-0 run to take a 22-12 lead by the 10:58 mark. But the Blackbirds immediately responded with an 11-0 run take a 23-22 lead at the 8:16 mark. After the Bobcats re-established a three-point lead, 26-23, at the 6:57 mark, the Blackbirds went on a 7-0 run. The LIU lead swelled to six points before Baker buried a jumper with his toe on the three-point arc to cut the deficit to two, just prior to the halftime buzzer.

Rutty led all first-half scorers with 12 points to go along with four rebounds. Wisseh and Adomaitis led LIU with 10 points apiece at the break.

The Bobcats return to action Thursday, when they play host to Wagner. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.