HAMDEN, Conn. - Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) and Deontay Twyman (Olney, Md.) had 13 points apiece as the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team defeated Rhode Island, 73-66, in front of a season-high 2,909 at the TD Bank Sports Center Saturday afternoon. The win is the first in program history against an Atlantic-10 school for the Bobcats (7-2). The Rams fall to 6-4 with the loss.
Rutty also corralled a team-high seven rebounds. James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) and Dominique Langston (Bridgeport, Conn.) had 12 points, six assists and two made three-point field goals apiece, with Langston also adding seven rebounds. Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) contributed nine points and six rebounds.
Delroy James had a game-high 18 points for Rhode Island. Marquis Jones added 15 points, while Nikola Malesevic and Will Martel had 10 points and eight rebounds apiece.
"We'd never beaten an Atlantic-10 school here at Quinnipiac, so anytime you can do that, it's obviously a great accomplishment," said Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore. "I thought Rhode Island played very well, especially in the second half. It was not a situation where they played poorly. I thought they played very well. I thought they played with purpose. I thought they made a lot of shots. They did a lot of things out there to put a nail in our heart a bunch of times. But we had a lot of resolve today on both ends of the court. Whenever we needed to make one extra play - a hustle play on defense or a big shot on offense - it seemed like we did. It's very rare that you can say you're happy with every kid that played in uniform for you, but I'm happy with every guy that played."
After establishing a lead of as many as eight in the first half, the Bobcats saw their lead erased early in the second half, as the Rams went on a 7-0 run, capped by two James free throws at the 15:17 mark, to take a 42-38 advantage. Quinnipiac immediately responded with a 12-0 run and never trailed again. Twyman got things started with a trifecta following a Johnson steal, before scoring again on a transition lay-up to give the Bobcats the lead, 43-42, with 14:12 remaining.
After the Rams couldn't convert on their next offensive trip, Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) finished on the opposite end, rewarded by Langston on the fast break for running the floor. Langston then cleaned up his own miss with a put-back on the next Quinnipiac possession, before burying a three-pointer to cap the 12-0 run and give Quinnipiac a 50-42 advantage at the 12:35 mark.
Rhode Island clawed to within three points on four occasions the rest of the way, but could never get any closer. The last time the Rams got to within three points was at the 2:01 mark, while neither team could manage a field goal the rest of the way.
The Bobcats forced a Jones miss from long range with 15 seconds left, and Twyman was fouled in the fight for the ensuing rebound. The senior knocked down both free throws, before Daniel West missed fire from long range. A pair of Johnson free throws with two seconds left accounted for the final tally.
Quinnipiac outrebounded its ninth straight opponent to begin the season, winning the battle on the boards, 40-37. The Bobcats outshot URI, 43.3 percent (29-67) to 42.1 percent (24-57) from the floor, 35.3 percent (6-17) to 29.4 percent (5-17) from long range, and 81.8 percent (9-11) to 54.2 percent (13-24) from the free-throw line. The Bobcats dished out 21 assists to just 10 turnovers, while outscoring Rhode Island, 21-3, off turnovers. The Quinnipiac bench also outscored the Rams' bench, 26-7.
The Bobcats return to action following first-semester final exams, Dec. 22, when they travel to Niagara University, N.Y., to take on Niagara. Opening tip from the John J. "Taps" Gallagher Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.