Quinnipiac University Bobcats (13-15, 9-8 NEC) vs.
Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils (13-15, 8-9 NEC)
Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009 4 p.m.
TD Banknorth Sports Center Hamden, Conn.
Bobcats Play Host To CCSU In Regular Season Finale
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team plays host to Central Connecticut, Saturday afternoon, in the regular season finale for both teams. The Bobcats are coming off a 75-66 loss to Wagner, while the Blue Devils fell to Monmouth, Thursday. CCSU is one game behind the Bobcats in the NEC standings, but has control of the head-to-head tie-breaker. Should CCSU defeat the Bobcats, the Blue Devils would take the No. 5 seed in the NEC Tournament, pushing Quinnipiac to No. 6. The Blue Devils have a commanding 50-14 lead in the all-time series, and haven't lost in Hamden since Jan. 7, 1981.
Scouting the Central Connecticut Blue Devils
The Blue Devils are led by Ken Horton, who's second in the NEC in scoring average at 16.8 points per game. He also leads CCSU in rebounding average (6.0) and blocks per game (1.68). Shemik Thompson has run the offense efficiently at 5.0 assists per game, while maintaining a 1.30 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's also second in the league in steals per game (2.12). Robby Ptacek leads the NEC's second-leading free-throw shooting team (72.8 percent) at a league-leading 88.6 percent.
On The Air
Saturday's game can be seen live on NESN. Paul Dottino will have the play-by-play call with Terry O'Connor providing analysis. The game can also be heard live on the Bobcats Radio Network. Bill Schweizer will have the play-by-play call with Bill Mecca on color.
Last Time Against CCSU
Playing with a season-low six scholarship players available, the Bobcats fell to the Blue Devils, 59-55, Jan. 24 in New Britain. James Johnson led Quinnipiac with 17 points, while Justin Rutty scored 10 points and added 14 rebounds. Bryan Geffen and James Feldeine scored 12 points each. Marcus Palmer had 16 points and 10 rebounds for CCSU.
Last Time Out Against Wagner
James Feldeine led Quinnipiac with 18 points, but the Bobcats were defeated by red-hot Wagner, 75-66, Thursday night. Bryan Geffen contributed 14 points while Justin Rutty narrowly missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Justin Drummond led all scorers (21) and rebounders (10) to pace the Seahawks. Joey Mundweiler added 18 points, including five three-pointers.
The Bobcats will honor seniors Louis Brookins, Bryan Geffen and Steve Robinson, along with senior student athletic trainer Garrett McLoughlin prior to Saturday's game.
Oh, the Possibilities
The best the Bobcats can hope for is their current position, the fifth seed in the NEC Tournament. To stay put, Quinnipiac must defeat CCSU. A win guarantees the Bobcats a trip to Brooklyn, N.Y., where they would take on No. 4 Long Island. Meanwhile, a loss would drop Quinnipiac to the No. 6 seed, meaning a match-up at Long Island, Mount St. Mary's or Sacred Heart, depending on other scores around the NEC. With a QU loss and a Mount St. Mary's win at Robert Morris, the Bobcats would face Sacred Heart. A QU loss, combined with a Mount St. Mary's loss and an LIU win at St. Francis (N.Y.) would send the Bobcats to LIU. Finally, if QU, LIU and the Mount all lose, the Bobcats would travel to Mount St. Mary's.
Shoot Better, Win More
The Bobcats are 10-0 when they outshoot their opponent.
Eleven of Thirteen
The Bobcats have taken 11 of their 13 wins while allowing 69 points or less.
In The Bobcats' Defense...
Quinnipiac ranks first in the NEC in field-goal percentage defense (.408) and third in scoring defense (63.9) in conference games.
Rutty Nationally Ranked
In addition to ranking second in the NEC with a 60.6 field-goal percentage, Justin Rutty ranks tied for 11th in the nation. He also ranks second in offensive rebounding average (4.48) and 23rd in rebounding (9.4).
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 12 of the last 14 games. He's averaged 12.2 points during the span.
Giveth, But Can't Taketh Away
James Johnson is sixth in the NEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.51. He's dished out 114 assists (4.2 apg, 7th-NEC) while turning it over just 78 times.
Dunkin' Dutchman Comparison
Rutty's shooting accuracy (60.6%) 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.
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 27 of the Bobcats' 28 games this season.
Floor General Johnson
James Johnson has taken control of the point guard position in just his freshman season. Johnson has averaged 9.9 points, 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals while adjusting seamlessly to the college game. He's started his first 28 collegiate games, becoming just the second Quinnipiac player to do so at the Division I level.
On the Rebound
The Bobcats offensive rebounding prowess (15.00 per game - 1st-NEC, 9th NCAA) has resulted in holding opponents to 32.3 rebounds per game (3rd-NEC) and a +5.6 rebounding margin (1st-NEC).
Fine To Be Feldeine
James Feldeine currently ranks among the NEC's best in several categories. He's 3rd in scoring at 16.5 points per game and 9th in rebounds (6.2). His 4.50 defensive boards per game rank 8th and his 73.0 free-throw percentage is 11th. His 1.71 steals per game are 5th and his 2.39 assists per game are 18th.
Regular For Rutty
Justin Rutty has shot 60.6 percent (180-for-297) this season (2nd-NEC), besting his NEC-leading 59.0 percent average of a year ago.
The Bobcats begin Northeast Conference Tournament play Thursday at a site to be determined. Possibilities include Long Island, Mount St. Mary's and Sacred Heart. If the Bobcats win Saturday, they'll play Long Island as the No. 5 seed. A loss would leave open the possibility of playing any of the three aforementioned teams as the No. 6 seed.