HAMDEN, Conn. - James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) compiled a triple-double of 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, and Justin Rutty compiled his NEC-leading 13th double-double of the season as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team cruised past Monmouth, 82-63, Thursday night at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, the Bobcats (20-8, 14-3 NEC) picked up their first 20-win season at Division I, becoming the first QU team since Burt Kahn's 1979-80 squad (22-7) to win 20 games. The Hawks (12-17, 8-9 NEC) earned a berth into the NEC Tournament by virtue of Fairleigh Dickinson's overtime triumph over Sacred Heart.
The Bobcats avenged a 72-60 Jan. 2 loss at Monmouth with the victory, and kept pace with first-place Robert Morris (15-2 NEC) going into the final day of league play Saturday. The Bobcats and Colonials have clinched the top two seeds in the NEC Tournament. A Bobcats win at Fairleigh Dickinson, combined with a Robert Morris loss at Mount St. Mary's Saturday would give Quinnipiac its first NEC Championship, an automatic berth in the National Invitation Tournament and the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout their play in the NEC Tournament.
Feldeine's triple-double was Quinnipiac's first since Kason Mims had 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds against Long Island on March 1, 2004. Rutty scored a game-high 25 points and added 12 rebounds, while James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) contributed eight points and six assists. Deontay Twyman (Olney, Md.) also had eight points for the Bobcats, who outrebounded their 27th of 28 opponents this season with a 44-30 margin.
"I was thrilled with how unselfish he was," said Moore of Feldeine. "For a guy who has really turned himself into a scorer, this was the most mature he's been offensively with the ball when a team has really helped off in the lane on him. He had so many opportunities where he turned the corner and was getting into the lane, drew another guy and found somebody else who had an open shot. On the break, he had a couple two-on-ones and three-on-twos where he made the right pass. He really loves to score, and I love that about him. I love the fact that he loves to score. Tonight, he just did a phenomenal job of balancing scoring and helping his teammates."
Quinnipiac dished out a season-high 25 assists. It was the first 25-assist game for the Bobcats since Dec. 18, 2007, when Quinnipiac dished out 27 dimes against Dartmouth. The Bobcats shot 54.2 percent (32-59) from the floor, including 50.0 percent (7-14) from long range. They also shot 78.6 percent (11-14) from the free-throw line, besting Monmouth's line of 37.1 percent (23-62) from the floor, 35.0 percent (7-20) from long range and 58.8 percent (10-17) from the free-throw line.
"The thing I was most pleased with was how unselfish this team continues to be," said Moore. "The 25 assists on 32 baskets really speaks to how unselfish they all are. They're unselfish with their minutes, they're unselfish with their roles, they're unselfish with their scoring and they're unselfish with shot distribution. It's been one of the joys of coaching this group. Not only did we have 25 assists, I think we had a lot of hockey assists, too. The pass to the pass was pretty impressive."
Travis Taylor led Monmouth with 20 points, while Will Campbell added 11 points.
The Bobcats created 16 points of separation in the first half with a 9-0 run to close the stanza, and never looked back. Monmouth led, 2-0 and 5-4, before Jonathan Cruz's (Lawrence, Mass.) jumper at the 17:46 mark of the first half put the Bobcats on top for good.
Quinnipiac's lead extended to as many as 27 points on Johnson's three-pointer with 5:52 left in the second half.
The Bobcats conclude the 2009-10 regular season Saturday night, when they travel to Hackensack, N.J., to take on Fairleigh Dickinson. Opening tip from Stratis Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.