Rutty and Johnson Named To All-NEC First Team

HAMDEN, Conn. - Quinnipiac University senior men's basketball forward Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) and junior guard James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) have been named to the All-Northeast Conference First Team, as announced during today's NEC Pre-Tournament Media Teleconference. Rutty takes the honor for the third straight year, while Johnson earns his first All-NEC accolade. The awards give Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore a first-team honoree in each of his four years at the helm, including four different players, and a pair of first-team selections in each of the past two years.

"On behalf of the Quinnipiac University basketball program, we are extremely proud of Justin Rutty and James Johnson earning First Team All-NEC honors," said Moore. "Both young men have been instrumental in elevating our program towards the top of the Northeast Conference since their arrival. Their sacrifice, consistency, and toughness have been invaluable to our success."

Rutty averaged 14.5 points (10th-NEC) and a league-best 9.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor (5th-NEC) despite battling injuries in his senior season. He compiled 10 double-doubles, second-best in the league to Central Connecticut's Ken Horton (12), despite playing seven fewer games. His 3.86 offensive rebounds per game led the league. Rutty's career rebounding total stands at 999, and his next rebound would make him the third player in NEC history to grab 1,000 rebounds. LIU's Carey Scurry (1,013) and CCSU's Ron Robinson (1,022) remain in play as Rutty tries to become the league's all-time leading rebounder.

"Justin Rutty has overcome two major obstacles this season while earning First Team All-NEC honors," said Moore. "He spent the entire off-season rehabbing from major hip surgery and then missed seven games in the middle of January recovering from elbow surgery. His impact on our team is obvious as we have gone 18-4 when he has been in the lineup. He has been a dominant rebounder and low-post scorer for us in his time here and we are grateful for the recognition he has received from the NEC coaches."

Johnson led the Bobcats at 16.3 points (4th-NEC), 3.7 assists (11th-NEC) and 1.6 steals (3rd-NEC) in 33.62 minutes per game (7th-NEC). He shot 81.7 percent from the free-throw line (8th-NEC) and 38.6 percent from long range (13th-NEC), and compiled 2.63 three-point field goals made per game (1st-NEC) and a 2.43 assist-to-turnover ratio (2nd-NEC), all team bests. Johnson has made seven three-point field goals in a single game on three different occasions this season, and has been impressively durable, starting each of the 93 games Quinnipiac has played in his three years in Hamden.

"James Johnson has been the hardest-working player we have had here in my time at Quinnipiac University. No one in our program has spent more effort working on his game than James," said Moore. "He has made numerous big plays for us all season at the end of games on both ends of the court. For long stretches of the season he was simultaneously our best offensive and best defensive player. He plays with great focus and toughness and has emerged as a real leader for us."

The second-seeded Bobcats play host to No. 7 Mount St. Mary's in the NEC Tournament Quarterfinals on Thursday. The Bobcats and Mountaineers split their two meetings this season, with the home team winning each time. Opening tip from the TD Bank Sports Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on or through the TD Bank Sports Center Ticket Office (203-582-3905).