Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0) at
University of Hartford Hawks (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 14, 2008 7 p.m.
Chase Arena at the Reich Family Pavilion West Hartford, Conn.
The Quinnipiac men's basketball team begins the 2008-09 season Friday at the University of Hartford. The game will be televised live on the New England Sports Network (NESN). This is the second consecutive year that the two teams will meet in the Bobcats' season-opener, as Quinnipiac defeated Hartford in thrilling double-overtime fashion, 85-79, last Nov. 11 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Quinnipiac leads the all-time series, 11-5, while the two teams have split a pair of meetings since the Bobcats jumped to Division I in 1998-99.
Scouting the University of Hartford Hawks
The Hawks return four of their top five scorers from a year ago, when they set a school record with 18 wins. 2007-08 First-Team All-Conference selection Joe Zeglinski headlines the returners after pacing the Hawks with 16.2 points per game. He made 103 three-point field goals for a 41 percent conversion rate. The Hawks like to shoot from long distance, having hit 312-of-819 (.381) trifectas hoisted a year ago. Sophomore forward Morgan Sabia scored 10.2 points per game in 2007-08, including 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts. Senior wing Michael Turner led Hartford in rebounding last year, complementing his 8.9 points per game with a 5.6 rebounding average. The Hawks need to replace the production of big man Warren McLendon, who blocked a team-high 53 shots and averaged 12.1 points and 5.3 per game last year.
On The Air
Friday's game can be seen live on the New England Sports Network (NESN) or heard on the Bobcats Sports Network. Eric Frede will have the play-by-play call for NESN, while Bill Mecca will provide color commentary. Bill Schweizer has the call on the Bobcats Sports Network with Bob Tipson on color.
In addition to transfers Jeremy Baker, Jonathan Cruz and Sean Light, Head Coach Tom Moore added four talented incoming freshmen to comprise his first full recruiting class. DeAndre' Bynum, Eric Coggins, James Johnson and Harold Washington join the team as freshmen. Bynum, a 6-6 guard from Memphis, Tenn., was ranked as highly as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. Coggins, Johnson and Washington are all regarded as two-star recruits. Coggins is a 6-9 forward while Johnson is a 6-foot guard. Washington is a 6-2 combo guard. Baker, the brother of Quinnipiac sophomore guard Evann Baker, and Cruz, practiced with the Bobcats, but could not play in 2007-08 due to NCAA transfer regulations.
Who's Moved On
Gone is the Northeast Conference's leading scorer, All-NEC First Team pick DeMario Anderson. Joining him in graduating were Karl Anderson and Andrew Cashin. Guard Casey Cosgrove has transferred to play for his father, Jamie, head coach at Adelphi University.
In his first season at the helm, Moore delivered the Bobcats' first non-losing season since 2002-03 with a 15-15 finish, including an 11-7 mark in the NEC. Moore became the first Bobcats head coach since Burt Kahn to begin his tenure with a non-losing season. The 15 wins are third-most in program Division I history, while the 11 conference victories are tied for second.
Return to the Top
At 11-7, Quinnipiac finished in the top half of the NEC for the second consecutive season last year. The Bobcats finished tied for fourth in the conference.
Fine as a Freshman
Evann Baker is the Bobcats' top returning scorer at 10.9 points per game. Baker shot 45 percent from the floor last season, including a 53.3 percent clip from beyond the three-point arc, which earned the Washington, D.C., native a spot on the NEC All-Rookie Team.
Tickling the Twine
Justin Rutty returns after leading the NEC in field-goal percentage last season, connecting at a 59-percent clip. Rutty obliterated the competition, with the next-highest field-goal percentage posted by an NEC player coming in at 55.8 percent.
Quinnipiac finished first in the NEC in both field-goal percentage and three-point field-goal percentage in 2007-08. The Bobcats connected from the floor at a 46.1 percent clip while knocking down 39.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Returning for the Bobcats are their leaders from the floor (Justin Rutty, .590) and from long range (Evann Baker, .533).
The Bobcats will face opponents from three different conferences on their non-conference schedule. Quinnipiac will play Binghamton, Hartford, Maine, Maryland-Baltimore County and Vermont, all from the America East Conference. Meanwhile, Brown, Cornell and Dartmouth from the Ivy League line up on Quinnipiac's schedule, while there's a possibility of also taking on Columbia in the Columbia Tournament. Finally, Army represents the Patriot League on the Bobcats' docket.
The Bobcats return to action, Monday, Nov. 17, when they play host to Army in Quinnipiac's home opener. The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.