HAMDEN, Conn. - Senior James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) scored a game-high 17 points, but the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team was defeated by Robert Morris, 52-50, in the Northeast Conference Tournament Championship game Wednesday night in front of a record crowd of 3,607 at the TD Bank Sports Center. The loss sends the Bobcats (23-9) to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), while the Colonials (23-11) move on to the NCAA Tournament.
Feldeine and Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) were named to the All-NEC Tournament Team for their efforts. Rutty compiled his seventh consecutive double-double in Wednesday's game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Deontay Twyman (Olney, Md.) contributed eight points, while Jonathan Cruz (Lawrence, Mass.) added nine rebounds.
Karon Abraham scored a team-high 16 points for Robert Morris, and was named the tournament's most valuable player.
For the game, the Colonials outshot the Bobcats, 41.7 percent (20-48) to 34.8 percent (16-46) from the floor and 33.3 percent (5-15) to 23.1 percent (3-13) from long range. The Colonials became the second team to outrebound the Bobcats this season, 35-34, matching the one-board edge that Long Island achieved on Feb. 13. Quinnipiac outshot Robert Morris from the free-throw line, 75.0 percent (15-20) to 41.2 percent (7-17).
After Robert Morris scored 10 of the game's first 14 points, the Bobcats went on an 11-0 run to take a five-point lead with 7:07 to go in the first half. Rutty scored five points in the stretch, including a three-point play to give the Bobcats the lead. Feldeine added four. Neither team would create more than four points of separation the rest of the way. The Bobcats maintained a lead for the rest of the half, and entered halftime leading by two, 25-23.
The Colonials tied the game on four occasions in the second half before Gary Wallace's three-pointer at the 9:17 mark gave RMU its first lead since the 10:23 mark of the first half. Two ties and two lead changes later, Twyman knocked down a three-pointer from the right corner that gave the Bobcats a 46-45 advantage with 3:24 remaining in regulation. The Colonials tied the game at 46-46 on a Dallas Green free throw, before Abraham gave RMU the lead on a jumper with 2:02 remaining. Two Rutty free throws tied the game, 48-48, with 1:41 left, but Velton Jones' jumper at the 1:18 mark proved to be the dagger. After the Bobcats came up empty on their next possession, Quinnipiac forced an Abraham turnover with 20 seconds remaining. But Feldeine's shot from just inside the three-point arc at the top of the key was partially blocked by Green.
Green made a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game. Johnson was fouled on the other end and made two free throws two make it a two-point game. Abraham had the chance to ice it with 2.8 seconds left and two opportunities from the free-throw line. But he missed both free throws, leaving the door open. However, Johnson's shot from beyond half court wouldn't fall, giving the Colonials the victory.