March 6, 2009

Men's Basketball Outlasts LIU In Overtime, 86-78

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) scored 22 points and Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) compiled his league-leading 12th double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds as the fifth-seeded Quinnipiac University men's basketball team outlasted No. 4 Long Island, 86-78, Thursday night at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center.

With the win, the Bobcats (15-15) advance to Sunday's NEC Tournament Semifinals, where they'll face top-seeded Robert Morris. The Colonials defeated No. 8 St. Francis (N.Y.), 73-60, in suburban Pittsburgh. The 2 p.m. start will be televised live on MSG.

Jeremy Baker (Washington, D.C.) scored 13 points, while Bryan Geffen (Queens, N.Y.) added 12 for the Bobcats. Julian Boyd led LIU with 17 points, including a three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired in regulation to send the game to overtime. Kyle Johnson contributed 16 points, while Jaytornah Wisseh (14) and David Hicks (10) also finished in double figures for the Blackbirds. Ron Manigault finished with a team-high nine rebounds.

For the game, the Bobcats outshot the Blackbirds, 50.0 percent (29-58) to 38.8 percent (26-67) from the floor, and 31.3 percent (5-16) to 27.3 percent (6-22) from three-point range. Quinnipiac also outrebounded LIU, 47-38. The Blackbirds took a 71.4 percent (20-28) to 56.1 percent (23-41) advantage from the free-throw line.

The loss was just the third of the season for the Blackbirds at the Wellness Center, including defeats in consecutive home games to the Bobcats. Quinnipiac swept the season series from LIU, including a 78-73 decision, Feb. 21 at the Wellness Center, and a 69-63 win, Jan. 31 in Hamden. The Bobcats have now taken eight straight against the Blackbirds, dating back to the 2005-06 season.

The Bobcats never trailed in overtime, quickly jumping on the Blackbirds with a crisply-run inbounds play that left Rutty wide open on the left block for an easy lay-up. Manigault's fifth foul put Baker on the line, where he connected on both attempts to push the lead to four. After a Hicks layup and free throw within just over a minute of each other, the Bobcats outscored the Blackbirds, 9-2, the rest of the way. Geffen's three from the right wing made it a four-point lead and the Bobcats never again let the cushion deflate to fewer than three points.

Quinnipiac took its largest lead of the game, 58-42, on Feldeine's jumper with 7:48 left in regulation. But the Blackbirds applied full-court press, either forcing a turnover or fouling the rest of the way. The Bobcats connected on half of their free-throws (7-14) in the final five minutes of regulation, leaving the door slightly ajar. Down three with 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Boyd got a clean look from the top of the key and was the beneficiary of a friendly roll to connect on his first collegiate three-point attempt.

The first half started as a back-and-forth affair with six lead changes in the first four minutes ended with each team making one extended run each. After the Bobcats went on top, 10-7, the Blackbirds scored the next nine points and 11 of the next 13, to take a 19-12 advantage with 11:27 to go in the half. But the Bobcats answered with a 13-0 run to take a six-point lead, 25-19, with 7:25 left. A Baker three-point play sparked the run and Feldeine buried back-to-back jumpers to give the Bobcats the lead. The Bobcats never trailed again.

The Quinnipiac lead extended to nine twice in the stanza, and the Bobcats managed a six-point lead, 38-32, at the break. Rutty led all scorers and rebounders in the first half with 11 points and eight boards, including five on the offensive glass. Feldeine contributed eight points. Wisseh led the Blackbirds with 10 first-half points. The Bobcats took a 27-16 advantage on the glass at the half.