Men's Basketball Defeats CCSU, Earns Seventh Straight Win

HAMDEN, Conn. - Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) compiled his 19th career double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team defeated Central Connecticut, 75-62, Sunday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center. The win gives the Bobcats the first season home-and-home sweep of the Blue Devils in program history. The Bobcats, winners of seven straight and nine of their last 10, move to 13-6 overall (7-1 NEC), their best start in program Division I history in both overall and league play. The 13-6 start is also the best for the Bobcats since the 1979-80 season. The Blue Devils fall to 5-14 (2-6 NEC).

James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) contributed 13 points and six assists for Quinnipiac, while James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) had 12 points. Quinnipiac outrebounded its 19th consecutive opponent to begin the 2009-10 season with a 47-33 advantage over CCSU. The Bobcats converted 21 offensive rebounds into a 46-26 advantage in points in the paint and a 16-6 edge in second-chance points.

"We talked a lot at halftime about being a little more mature and stronger with the ball and finishing our shots, making shots in the second half," said Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore. "To our guys' credit, we really executed well in the second half. We didn't need to execute a few times because our fast break was really good, too. James Johnson is evolving into a very, very good transition point guard - extremely good. He's getting his bigs and his wings to run along with him, too. He made a few plays that got us easy baskets and, when we had to play in the half court, our guys executed really well. We found the right people. Justin (Rutty) finished everything. When jump shooters got open jump shots in the second half, they made them. I thought we were a pretty complete team for the first 12 or 13 minutes of the second half."

Shemik Thompson and Markeys Dean had 12 points apiece for CCSU, while Joe Efese added 10 points. For the game, the Bobcats outshot the Blue Devils, 43.5 percent (30-69) to 38.6 percent (22-57) from the floor and 40.0 percent (2-5) to 28.6 percent (4-14) from long range. CCSU made 14-of-15 free-throws (.933) to take the advantage over QU, which shot 65.0 percent (13-20).

After trailing at the half, 28-25, Quinnipiac opened the second half on a 17-3 run to open a double-digit lead it'd sustain for much of the stanza. A pair of Rutty lay-ups and a Feldeine fast-break lay-in gave the Bobcats a 31-30 advantage a minute and a half into the second half. Quinnipiac would never trail again.

The Bobcats' run extended to 13-2 as QU went on top, 38-30, on Johnson's three-pointer from the right wing at the 16:36 mark, before reaching 17-3 as Johnson assisted on buckets by Rutty and Jeremy Baker to give Quinnipiac an 11-point lead. Twyman's three-pointer at the 12:32 mark pushed the Quinnipiac lead to 14 points, 51-37. The lead reached its apex of 19 points at the 7:55 mark on Jamee Jackson's (Newark, N.J.) offensive rebound and putback.

The Bobcats scored the first five points of the game on a Baker free throw and buckets by Jonathan Cruz (Lawrence, Mass.) and Feldeine. After the Bobcats extended to a seven-point lead, 9-2, CCSU scored nine of the next 11 points to tie the game on Devan Bailey's three-pointer from the right wing at the 12:07 mark.

After a Johnson free throw gave Quinnipiac a one-point lead, 12-11, at the 11:15 mark, Joe Seymore's three from the top of the key gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the game, 14-12, with 10:01 left in the half. Buckets from Deans and Seymore extended the CCSU advantage to 18-12 before Efese connected on a pair of free throws to extend the CCSU run to 18-3.

Down 20-12, the Bobcats responded with an 8-0 run. Rutty made back-to-back buckets to spark the run before Twyman's reverse lay-up at the 3:37 mark punctuated it to tie the game at 20-20. After Thompson made a long two, Johnson responded with a conventional three-point play to put the Bobcats on top 23-22, with 2:16 left in the period. CCSU scored six straight points, before Johnson connected on a runner in the lane at the buzzer to cut the QU deficit to three points at the half, 28-25.

Rutty led all first-half performers with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Thompson countered with nine points for CCSU.

The Bobcats return to NEC action Thursday, when they travel to Staten Island, N.Y., to face Wagner. Opening tip from the Spiro Sports Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.