Men's Basketball Opens NEC Tournament Action At LIU Thursday

2009 Northeast Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

No. 5 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (14-15, 10-8 NEC) at

No. 4 Long Island University Blackbirds (16-13, 12-6 NEC)

Thursday, Mar. 5, 2009 – 7 p.m.

Wellness Center – Brooklyn, N.Y.

Bobcats Open NEC Tournament At Long Island

The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team opens NEC Tournament action at Long Island, Thursday in Brooklyn, N.Y. The fifth-seeded Bobcats are coming off a 69-55 win against Central Connecticut, while the fourth-seeded Blackbirds beat St. Francis (N.Y.), 66-54, in their last game. The Bobcats swept the season series from the Blackbirds, winning 69-63, Jan. 31, in Hamden, before taking a 78-73 win, Feb. 21 in Brooklyn. The win snapped the Blackbirds' 11-game home winning streak and the Bobcats became the only NEC team to win at the Wellness Center this season. The Bobcats own a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series, including wins in each of the last seven meetings. Included in the stretch are three wins at the Wellness Center, though by an average margin of victory of only 3.3 points.

Scouting the Long Island Blackbirds

All-NEC First Team selection Jaytornah Wisseh leads the Blackbirds at 15.3 points, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Ron Manigault trails only Justin Rutty among rebounders in the NEC at 8.7 boards per game. Kyle Johnson has also contributed 13.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 three-point field goals made per game. NEC Rookie of the Year Julian Boyd has averaged 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.

On The Air

While no video will be available Thursday, the game can be heard live on the Bobcats Radio Network. Bill Schweizer will have the play-by-play with Bill Mecca on color.

Last Time Against Long Island

Justin Rutty had a dominating 23-point, 16-rebound performance as the Bobcats defeated the Blackbirds, 78-73, Feb. 21 in Brooklyn. Jeremy Baker (13), James Feldeine (12) and Bryan Geffen (11) helped offset Jaytornah Wisseh's 27-point performance for LIU.

Last Time Out Against Central Connecticut

James Feldeine scored a game-high 25 points as the Bobcats defeated CCSU at home for the first time in more than 28 years, 69-55, Feb. 28. Bryan Geffen (12) and James Johnson (11) also scored in double figures while Justin Rutty added 11 rebounds.

Honored For Improvement

James Feldeine was honored by the NEC's coaches with the inaugural NEC Most Improved Player Award, the league office announced March 3. Feldeine has gone from a seldom-used freshman (0.6 ppg) to a solid contributor as a sophomore (8.3 ppg) and eventually the league's leading scorer (16.8 ppg) as a junior this season. Feldeine was also named to the All-NEC Second Team.

Rutty Rewarded On First Team

Justin Rutty was named to the All-NEC First Team after leading the league in rebounds (9.5 rpg) and offensive rebounds (4.4). One of the most dominant low post threats in the league, Rutty has also averaged 14.9 points per game and has compiled a league-best 11 double-doubles. Rutty's selection marked the first time in the last five years that a sophomore earned first-team recognition. The last sophomore to land among the top five players in the league at year's end was Fairleigh Dickinson's Gordon Klaiber in 2003-04.

Bo Knows The All-Rookie Team

James Johnson was named to the NEC All-Rookie Team after averaging 10.0 points, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals in the regular season. He was the only Bobcat to start all 29 games and compiled a 1.54 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Three On All-NEC

The Bobcats led all NEC teams with three all-conference selections. Long Island, Monmouth, St. Francis (N.Y.) and Robert Morris followed with two each.

Moore of the Same

Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore placed a player on both the All-NEC First Team (DeMario Anderson, Justin Rutty) and All-Rookie Team (Evann Baker, James Johnson) for the second consecutive year.

Rutty Ridiculous Against LIU

Justin Rutty has averaged 19.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in two games against LIU this season. He followed a 16-point, 14-rebound performance, Jan. 31, with 23 points and 16 rebounds, Feb. 21.

Streak Snappers

A week after snapping LIU's 11-game home winning streak, the Bobcats snapped a 15-game home losing streak to Central Connecticut, which dated back to Jan. 7, 1981.

Feldeine Catches Fire

James Feldeine scored an efficient 25 points against CCSU, hitting on 7-13 attempts overall, 5-6 from long range, and 6-6 from the free-throw line.

More Than Double In the Second

After being outshot, 48.3 percent to 41.2 percent, in the first half against CCSU, Feb. 28, the Bobcats more than doubled the Blue Devils shooting percentage in the second, 64.7 percent to 29.6 percent.

Shoot Better, Win More

The Bobcats are 11-0 when they outshoot their opponent.

Eleven of Thirteen

The Bobcats have taken 12 of their 14 wins while allowing 69 points or less.

In The Bobcats' Defense...

Quinnipiac ranks first in the NEC in field-goal percentage defense (.407) and third in scoring defense (63.4) in conference games.

Rutty Nationally Ranked

In addition to ranking second in the NEC with a 60.3 field-goal percentage, Justin Rutty ranks 14th in the nation. He also ranks tied for second in offensive rebounding average (4.39) and 24th in rebounding (9.5).

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 13 of the last 15 games. He's averaged 12.2 points during the span.

Giveth, But Can't Taketh Away

James Johnson is fifth in the NEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.54. He's dished out 122 assists (4.2 apg, 7th-NEC) while turning it over just 79 times.

Dunkin' Dutchman Comparison

Rutty's shooting accuracy (60.3%) 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 28 of the Bobcats' 29 games this season.

Floor General Johnson

James Johnson has taken control of the point guard position in just his freshman season. Johnson has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals while adjusting seamlessly to the college game. He's started his first 29 collegiate games, becoming just the second Quinnipiac player to do so at the Division I level.

On the Rebound

The Bobcats offensive rebounding prowess (14.93 per game - 1st-NEC, 10th 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 first in scoring at 16.8 points per game and 10th in rebounds (6.1). His 4.41 defensive boards per game rank eighth and his 74.4 free-throw percentage is 12th. His 1.66 steals per game are sixth and his 2.38 assists per game are 17th. His 1.59 three-pointers per game are tied for 14th.

Regular For Rutty

Justin Rutty has shot 60.3 percent (182-for-302) this season (2nd-NEC), besting his NEC-leading 59.0 percent average of a year ago.

On Deck

The Bobcats hope to continue Northeast Conference Tournament action Sunday. With a win at Long Island, Quinnipiac would advance to the semifinals. The tournament re-seeds after first-round games, meaning the Bobcats' second-round opponent would depend on the outcome of the opening-round games. Quinnipiac would need two of the top three teams in the tournament to fall in order to play host to a semifinal game. Meanwhile, possible second-round destinations include Robert Morris, Mount St. Mary's and Sacred Heart. Semifinal round action will be played Sunday at a time to be determined.