November 12, 2009

Men's Basketball Opens 2009-10 At Connecticut 6 Classic

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0) vs.
University of Hartford Hawks (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 13, 2009 - 7 p.m.
Arena at Harbor Yard - Bridgeport, Conn.

Bobcats Open 2009-10 At Connecticut 6 Classic
The Quinnipiac University men's basketball team opens the 2009-10 season with heightened expectations Friday when it takes on Hartford at the inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic in Bridgeport, Conn. The Bobcats open their season against the Hawks for the third straight year, having won the first two meetings in thrilling fashion. The Bobcats own a 12-5 lead in the all-time series, dating back to the 1957-58 season.

Scouting the Hartford Hawks
The Hawks' (7-26, 2-14 America East in 2008-09) top returning scorer and rebounder is Joe Zeglinski, who averaged 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game before suffering a season-ending injury after 10 games played. Morgan Sabia is the Hawks' next-best returning scorer and rebounder (10.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg), while he led all Hawks in blocks last season with 19 rejections. Andres Torres, a starter in 17 of 32 games played last season, leads the returning Hawks in assists (2.9 apg.) and steals (1.6 spg.).

Last Time Against Hartford
The Bobcats edged the Hawks, 63-62, in the season-opener for both teams, Nov. 14, 2008, in West Hartford. Bryan Geffen's three-pointer with 1:54 left in regulation gave the Bobcats' their first lead since the 4:52 mark of the first half and DeAndre Bynum's trifecta with the game tied and 58 seconds remaining proved to be the difference. James Feldeine (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Justin Rutty (13 points, 11 rebounds) each finished with double-doubles, while Rutty put the final exclamation point on the win, rejecting Joe Zeglinski's attempt at a buzzer-beater.

Saying "No" To Joe
The Quinnipiac defense clamped down on Joe Zeglinski in last year's meeting. The Bobcats held the 2007-08 First-Team All-America East selection to just two points on 1-for-10 shooting. Zeglinski, whose career scoring average was 14.6 points entering the contest, reached double-figures in 34 of his prior 37 games. The output tied Zeglinski's career low, set during his freshman season, Feb. 3, 2007, at Boston University.

Double-Double Deja Vu
With 18 points and 10 rebounds at Hartford last year, James Feldeine became the first Quinnipiac player in the school's Division I history to compile a double-double in consecutive season openers. Feldeine also burned the Hawks for 19 points and 10 rebounds in the 2007-08 opener. C.J. Vick '05 previously came closest to the feat. Vick fell a rebound short of a double-double in the 2002-03 opener at UConn prior to an 11-point, 10-rebound performance in the first game of the 2003-04 season against Montana State.

Speaking of Double-Doubles...
On Nov. 14, 2008, Feldeine and Rutty became the first Bobcats teammates to compile double-doubles in the same game since Chris Wehye and Karl Anderson both reached double-figures in points and rebounds, Nov. 15, 2006, against Division II Concordia (N.Y.). The feat was repeated by James Johnson and Rutty less than a month later against Monmouth.

Moore of the Same
Head Coach Tom Moore has won the season opener in each of his two years at QU, a pair of thrilling victories against Hartford. Prior to Moore's arrival to Hamden, no Quinnipiac team had won its first game of the season during the school's Division I era. Teams that have had Moore serving on the coaching staff have won nine consecutive season openers. The last time one of Moore's teams didn't win its first game was Nov. 11, 1999, when defending National Champion and top-ranked UConn was upset by Iowa in the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic.

Johnson's Elite Company
James Johnson began an impressive streak during last season's Hartford game. The point guard became just the eighth freshman in QU Division I history to start his collegiate debut. Johnson then went on to start all 31 of Quinnipiac's games, joining just 19 other freshmen in the nation to start every game their team played in 2008-09. Each player to start his first game and complete four years with the Bobcats has scored over 1,000 points. Rob Monroe, Bill Romano and Jared Grasso started their first games and rank first, second and fifth, respectively, on the Bobcats D-I scoring list. Johnson joined teammates Justin Rutty and Evann Baker as current players who started their debuts, while Job Casimir and Casey Cosgrove were in the starting line-up for their initial contests, but transferred prior to completion of four seasons in Hamden.

QU Picked Second In CT6 Poll
Quinnipiac was picked second in the Preseason Connecticut 6 Coaches' Poll. Fairfield claimed the top spot, while Sacred Heart immediately followed the Bobcats in third. Central Connecticut, Yale and Hartford rounded out the poll.

Rutty Picked To Preseason CT6 Team
Justin Rutty was selected as Quinnipiac's representative on the Preseason Connecticut 6 Team. Joining Rutty were CCSU's Shemik Thompson, Fairfield's Anthony Johnson, Hartford's Joe Zeglinski, Sacred Heart's Corey Hassan and Yale's Alex Zampier.

Bobcats Third In NEC Coaches' Poll
The Northeast Conference's coaches selected the Bobcats to finish tied for third in the league this season. Mount St. Mary's claimed the top spot, followed by Long Island. Robert Morris was selected to tie QU for third, while Central Connecticut ranked fifth. Sacred Heart, St. Francis (N.Y.), Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Wagner, Bryant and Saint Francis (Pa.) rounded out the poll.

Rutty Recognized Among The Best
Justin Rutty was recognized among the Northeast Conference's best players when the league's coaches named him to the Preseason All-Conference Team. Rutty, who earned All-NEC First Team honors in 2008-09, joined Central Connecticut's Ken Horton, Long Island's Jaytornah Wisseh, Mount St. Mary's Jeremy Goode and Robert Morris' Rob Robinson on the team.

Honored For Improvement
James Feldeine was honored by the NEC's coaches with the inaugural NEC Most Improved Player Award in 2008-09. Feldeine went from a seldom-used freshman (0.6 ppg) to a solid contributor as a sophomore (8.3 ppg) and eventually led the league in scoring (17.0 ppg) as a junior. 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 (9.8 rpg) and offensive rebounds (4.6). One of the most dominant low post threats in the league, Rutty also averaged 14.8 points per game and compiled a league-best 13 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 9.8 points, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals as a freshman. He was the only Bobcat to start all 31 games and compiled a 1.48 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Moore Awards
Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore was selected as the collegeinsider.com Northeast Conference Coach of the Year for guiding an injury-riddled Bobcats team to the NEC Tournament Semifinals last season.

O-T is O-K
The Bobcats faced overtime just twice in 2008-09 and won both times. Quinnipiac defeated Army, 66-64, Nov. 17, before outlasting Long Island in the NEC Tournament Quarterfinals, 86-78, March 5.

Shoot Better, Win More
The Bobcats were 12-0 when they outshot their opponent in 2008-09.

Bobcats Sit Atop NEC Stats
In 2008-09, Bobcats James Feldeine (17.0 ppg) and Justin Rutty (9.8 rpg) led the Northeast Conference in points and rebounds per game, respectively, making the Bobcats the NEC's first team to have the league's leader in both categories since 1994-95, when LIU's Joe Griffin took both crowns. The last time different players from the same team took both the scoring and rebounding titles was the 1986-87 season, when Wagner's Terrance Bailey led the league in scoring average and Largest Agbejemisin paced all rebounders. One team has now had a player or players lead the league in both categories just eight times, including just four times that a different player from the same team has led the league in each category.

Twelve of Fifteen
The Bobcats took 12 of their 15 wins while allowing 69 points or less in 2008-09.

In The Bobcats' Defense...
Quinnipiac ranked first in the NEC in field-goal percentage defense (.407) and third in scoring defense (63.4) in conference games last season.

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 took over Anderson's role as a consistent double-figure scorer last season. Feldeine reached a 10th point in 30 of the Bobcats' 31 games.

On the Rebound
The Bobcats offensive rebounding prowess (15.06 per game - 1st-NEC, 8th NCAA) resulted in holding opponents to 32.1 rebounds per game (2nd-NEC) and a +6.0 rebounding margin (1st-NEC).

Fine To Be Feldeine
James Feldeine ranked among the NEC's best in several categories. He was first in scoring at 17.0 points per game and 10th in rebounds (6.0). His 4.35 defensive boards per game were ninth and his 74.5 free-throw percentage was 11th. His 1.68 steals per game were sixth and his 2.35 assists per game were 17th.

Regular For Rutty
Justin Rutty shot 60.4 percent (194-for-321) last season (2nd-NEC), besting his NEC-leading 59.0 percent average of a year earlier.

On Deck
The Bobcats return to action Wednesday, when they travel to Bethlehem, Pa., to take on Lehigh. Opening tip from Stabler Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.