Men's Basketball Falls To Top-Seeded Virginia Tech, 81-61, In NIT First Round

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Quinnipiac University junior Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) led the Bobcats with 22 points and seven rebounds but the Bobcats lost to top-seeded Virginia Tech, 81-61, in a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) First Round game at Virginia Tech's Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. The loss ends a hallmark year for the Bobcats as they finish the 2009-10 season with a record of 23-10. Virginia Tech improves to 24-8 and will play fourth-seeded Connecticut in the second round of the NIT.

Quinnipiac's James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) finished with 17 points to go along with eight assists. Jamee Jackson (Irvington, N.J.) contributed seven points, five rebounds and four blocks off the bench for the Bobcats. Virginia Tech was led by Malcolm Delaney with 25 points, seven rebound and six assists while Dorenzo Hudson dropped in 19 points.

"I was very impressed with Virginia Tech's energy level tonight from the beginning of the game," Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. "I was hoping to get a flat Virginia Tech team. The way they played tonight was a testament to how great of coaching job that Seth Greenberg has done here."

Rutty's junior year comes to a close after one of the most decorated seasons in Quinnipiac history. The 6-7 junior earned All-NABC District 18 First Team, All-ECAC Division I Third Team, and All-Northeast Conference First Team honors after winning the NEC Player of the Year award. Playing in his 33rd game this season, the all-everything big man posted his 17th game this season with 15 points or more and his ninth game with 20 points or more.

The Bobcats trailed after the first half, 39-27, behind the hot hand of Virginia Tech leading-scorer Malcolm Delaney. Delaney came out firing for Virginia Tech, hitting 6-of-9 in the first half, including 4-of-6 from long range, for 19 first half points. Delaney entered the game averaging a team and conference-best 20.4 points per game.

Rutty paced Quinnipiac as the game's only other double-digit scorer in the first stanza with 13 points, as well as a game-high five rebounds at the intermission. In spite of a tough shooting half, Johnson had seven points and a team-best four assists.

After Quinnipiac moved to within five points of Virginia Tech on a lay-up by Rutty, the Hokies pushed their lead to double digits for the first time in the game, 17-7, at the 12:52 mark. Both teams traded baskets over the next six-plus minutes before a three-point play by Rutty pulled Quinnipiac to within seven points, 26-19, with 6:18 to play.

It would be the closest Quinnipiac would get to matching Virginia Tech in the first half, or more importantly the ACC's leading scorer, Delaney. Delaney canned three-straight three-pointers on the Hokies' next three trips down the floor to push Virginia Tech's lead to 14 points, its largest of the half, at 37-23 with 2:15 to play in the first frame.

Virginia Tech's Dorenzo Hudson scored 11 of the Hokies' 19 points to open the half to give Virginia Tech a 20-point lead, 58-38, with 12:27 to play. Hudson entered the game as Virginia Tech's second-leading scorer behind Delaney at 14.5 points per game, and sat with 16 points with just under 13 minutes to play in the game. From there, it was all Virginia Tech as the Hokies never trailed by less than 20 points down the stretch.