HAMDEN, Conn. James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) scored a game-high 25 points as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team defeated Central Connecticut, 69-55, Saturday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. The win, the Bobcats' first at home against the Blue Devils in the last 16 meetings dating back to Jan. 7, 1981, secures the No. 5 position and trip to No. 4 Long Island in the NEC Tournament. The Bobcats improved to 14-15 (10-8 NEC), while the Blue Devils fell to 13-16 (8-10 NEC).
Bryan Geffen (Queens, N.Y.) contributed 12 points, while James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) added 11 points. Geffen established game-highs in assists (five) and steals (four), while Johnson added four. Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) had a game-high 11 rebounds.
David Simmons and Shemik Thompson had 12 points apiece for CCSU, while Ken Horton added 11. Simmons and Tamir Johnson had seven rebounds apiece to lead the Blue Devils.
"To throw up a 30 percent field-goal percentage defense in the second half against (CCSU) is something I'm really proud of," said Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore. "I didn't think we allowed them many chances to feel good about themselves in the second half. And we did it with our defense. James Feldeine shot the ball terrific, but we got contributions from a lot of different guys. Justin Rutty, within the game, improved, which is hard to do. I was pretty difficult on him throughout the first half and at halftime and the beginning of the second half, but it's a testament to his maturity that he stayed with it. I thought he was the biggest, strongest guy on the court for the last 10 minutes of the game."
For the game, the Bobcats outshot the Blue Devils, 49.0 percent (25-51) to 39.3 percent (22-56), including a 64.7 percent (11-17) to 29.6 percent (8-27) advantage in the second half. The Bobcats outshot CCSU from long range, 50.0 percent (7-14) to 22.2 percent (2-9), and 63.2 percent (12-19) to 60.0 percent (9-15) from the free-throw line. Quinnipiac also outrebounded CCSU, 36-31.
After a back-and-forth first seven and a half minutes of play, the Blue Devils went on a 7-0 run to establish their largest lead of the game, 19-11, with 10:39 remaining in the first half. The Bobcats responded with 17 of the next 22 points to take a 28-24 lead with just under five minutes left in the first half. The lead changed hands twice more and the Bobcats took a 33-31 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Feldeine led all scorers with 16 first-half points, while Thompson led CCSU with 10. The Bobcats led despite being outshot, 48.3 percent (14-29) to 41.2 percent (14-34), thanks in large part to Feldeine's 4-for-5 shooting from long range.
The Blue Devils immediately tied the score on a Simmons jumper on the first CCSU possession of the second half, and took a one-point lead on a Simmons free throw less than a minute later. The teams exchanged buckets and one-point leads before Louis Brookins' (Silver Spring, Md.) jumper sparked a 9-0 Quinnipiac run to put the Bobcats on top for good.
CCSU would draw to within no fewer than four points of the Bobcats' lead, while the Bobcats methodically built the advantage to its final margin of 14 points.
The fifth-seeded Bobcats return to action Thursday, when they travel to No. 4 Long Island for the first round of the NEC Tournament. Tip-off time is to be determined.