HAMDEN, Conn. - James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) scored a career-high 23 points as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team defeated Long Island, 80-72, in front of a season-high 2,836 on Senior Day, Saturday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 18-7 (12-2 NEC), including a perfect 11-0 at home and 15-0 in the state of Connecticut. The win also secures an NEC Tournament berth for the fifth straight year. The 18 wins and 12 league victories tie the 1999-2000 Quinnipiac team (18-10, 12-6 NEC) for the most in program Division I history. The Blackbirds fall to 10-15 (8-6 NEC) with the loss.
James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Jeremy Baker (Washington, D.C.) had 15 points. Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with a team-high four assists.
Jaytornah Wisseh led LIU with 22 points, while also contributing seven rebounds and six assists. David Hicks had 14 points, while Jamal Olasewere added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
"I'm pleased because we're getting wins. It's sort of been the story of the season," said Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore. "We're playing well enough to win these games and we win them in a lot of different ways, too. Tonight, (LIU) did a good job on Justin, collapsing on him and we didn't get him a lot of touches. But James Johnson steps up and plays terrific. Jeremy Baker was really alive in the second half offensively. Even someone like Deontay Twyman doesn't play well all game, but plays well late at both ends. This team continues to be very pragmatic in finding ways to win games, and that's a comforting feeling for me as a head coach. I always say that winning begets winning and losing begets losing and we seem to be on the favorable end of that wave right now."
The Blackbirds led by as many as six points in the first half, before Quinnipiac took its first lead of the game, 24-23, at the seven-minute mark of the initial stanza on a fast-break lay-up by Baker. LIU retook the lead, 31-30, three minutes later on Wisseh's jumper. But Rutty's lay-up at the 3:20 mark put the Bobcats on top for good.
Quinnipiac took its largest lead of the game, 10 points, on Deontay Twyman's (Olney, Md.) jumper at the 9:42 mark of the second half. LIU would cut the deficit to three points on three occasions, but could get no closer.
For the game, the Bobcats outshot the Blackbirds, 46.2 percent (30-65) to 42.4 percent (25-59) from the floor, 54.5 percent (6-11) to 37.5 percent (6-16) from long range, and 73.7 percent (14-19) to 69.6 percent (16-23) from the free-throw line. Quinnipiac was outrebounded for the first time in 25 games this season, 39-38.
The Bobcats return to action Thursday, when they travel to Loretto, Pa., to take on Saint Francis (Pa.). Opening tip from DeGol Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.