HAMDEN, Conn. - James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) scored a game-high 23 points and Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) compiled his 32nd career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team held off Hartford, 66-64, Tuesday night in the Bobcats' home opener at the TD Bank Sports Center. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 2-0 overall, while the Hawks fall to 0-2.
Dominique Langston (Bridgeport, Conn.) added 12 second-half points and Deontay Twyman (Olney, Md. ) chipped in 11 points, five assists and three steals for the Bobcats.
Morgan Sabia matched Johnson's 23 points for Hartford, while adding six rebounds. Joe Zeglinski had 12 points, but was held to just one field goal on eight attempts in the second half, thanks in large part to stifling defense by Johnson. Milton Burton had a solid all-around effort for the Hawks with 12 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
The Bobcats never trailed in the game. They opened the contest on a 7-0 run and quickly extended to a 13-2 advantage, with Johnson scoring eight points, including a pair of three-pointers in the run. An 11-0 Hartford run capped by a jumper and three-pointer from Zeglinski tied the game at 13-13 at the 12:38 mark of the first half. But a Johnson trifecta at the 11:41 mark put the Bobcats on top for good.
The Bobcats went on an 8-0 run, fueled by three-pointers from Johnson and Twyman to take a nine-point lead, 28-19, at the 5:13 mark and eventually extended to a 10-point halftime lead on another Twyman three.
Quinnipiac again extended to an 11-point lead with 8:16 to go in regulation, but the Hawks steadily whittled away at the lead until a Burton three-pointer at the 1:46 mark cut the Quinnipiac advantage to one at 61-60. Yet another Johnson trifecta stunted the Hawks' momentum, but after Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) made one-of-two free throws, Morgan Sabia connected in the paint on consecutive trips to again cut the deficit to one.
Dave Johnson again made one-of-two free throws on the ensuing Quinnipiac possession, but Burton's three-point try with two seconds left drew iron and the Bobcats came away with the victory.
For the game, the Bobcats outshot the 42.6 percent (23-54) to 37.3 percent (22-59), thanks in large part to a 56.0 percent (14-25) performance in the first half. Quinnipiac also outshot the Hawks, 36.4 percent (8-22) to 24.1 percent (7-29) from beyond the three-point arc and 54.5 percent (12-22) to 54.2 percent (13-24) from the free-throw line. Quinnipiac took a 42-35 advantage on the boards.
Prior to the game, the Bobcats unveiled their 2009-10 Northeast Conference Regular Season Championship banner.
The Bobcats return to action Saturday, when they play host to Vermont. The game can be seen live on NESN-TV. Opening tip is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center.