Colonials knock off Bobcats

Colonials knock off Bobcats
By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
WQAQ.com Sports
January 5, 2007

HAMDEN — A new year has begun, yet the Bobcats still have some old problems from the past they’ll need to do away with if they plan to compete for the Northeast Conference title.

Those same problems resulted in another setback for Quinnipiac on Saturday against Robert Morris.  In front of a national TV audience on ESPNU, the Bobcats started off slow, fell behind, then played “catch-up” and eventually caught up with the Colonials.

But throw in a few costly turnovers on some key possessions in the final minutes and some clutch shooting by Robert Morris’ guards A.J. Jackson and Tony Lee, the result was a 86-79 defeat in front of 1,164 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.

“We got out-toughed and lost to a tough-minded, offensive team,” said a dejected Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore.  “We didn’t do enough defensively, particularly in the first half.  They were the more confident team today.”

DeMario Anderson led all scores with 28 points on 5-of-6 shooting, but it was Jackson and Lee who helped the Colonials fight off a Bobcat rally as they combined to score nine points to turn a 64-58 lead into an 80-70 advantage in the final six minutes of the contest.  Jackson paced Robert Morris with 21 points and Lee added 17.  

“We’ve been waiting for him to have a breakout year,” said Robert Morris head coach Mike Rice of Jackson.  “Tonight was refreshing because of our constant effort to get him the ball more.”

Both teams made most of the first 20 minutes interesting, as they traded buckets until Jeremy Chappell’s jumper gave Robert Morris (10-5, 2-1 NEC) a 19-15 lead with under 10:30 to play.  A Jackson three-pointer, followed by a turnaround jumper by Bateko Francisco opened up a 27-17 advantage.

James Feldeine then helped key an 8-0 run for Quinnipiac (6-8, 2-1) as he knocked down a three-pointer, then converted on a bucket to cut the deficit to 36-32 at the 5:34 mark. Back-to-back baskets by DeMario tied it at 37-all with two minutes remaining. The half ended with a bank shot three-pointer by Francisco, putting the Colonials up 42-39.

The intensity continued in the second half, as buckets by Chappell and Jimmy Langhurst extended the lead to 58-47 early in the period.  DeMario and Brian Geffen would rally the hosts as a three-pointer by Geffen, followed by a three-point play by DeMario brought the Bobcats to within 69-68 at the 5:19 mark before Jackson and Lee later sealed the win for Robert Morris.

Rutty finished with 12 points, including 10 in the first half, while Feldeine chipped in 12.  Langhurst contributed 15 points for the Colonials.

Shooting wasn’t much of a problem for both teams as the Bobcats and Colonials each shot only a shade over 50 percent for the contest. Quinnipiac, however, was hurt by 14 turnovers and shot a dismal 5-of-14 from beyond the arc.

“If we can grow from this and become better, it’ll be fine in this league,” said Moore. “The potential is there, but this was a big game for us because we had a few guys who had never been in a game like this.”

NOTES: The Bobcats played this one without senior guard Casey Cosgrove, who sat out because of a back injury.  Moore said that it wasn’t anything serious, and that Cosgrove should be back in time for Thursday’s contest against Mount Saint Mary’s.

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