By Kevin Lo
(HAMDEN, Conn.) – Despite early struggles on the defensive end, the Bobcats men’s basketball team blew out the Monmouth Hawks 65-51 for their first Northeast Conference win, improving to 4-3 on the year.
Justin Rutty and James Johnson both recorded double-doubles. Rutty finished with 20 points and 10 boards while Johnson just missed a triple-double with 12 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
The Hawks relied on their outside shooting early on but failed to play as well in the post. They were outrebounded down 49-22 and only scored 18 points in the paint compared to Quinnipiac’s 28.
The two teams continued to exchange baskets back and forth in the opening minutes of the second half, leaving the score at a 40-40 tie with close to 13 minutes remaining.
After numerous lead changes, the Bobcats proceeded to go on a 16-5 run to take a 56-45 lead with less than six minutes to play. James Feldeine contributed nine points during the stretch while Rutty’s presence down low caused a problem for Monmouth’s offense. Feldeine finished the game with 18 points and eight rebounds.
The Bobcats smartly switched to man-to-man defense with around 10 minutes to play in the first half. Good shooting and a new defensive scheme allowed them to take the lead 24-23 with close to four minutes to go in the first.
Steve Robinson’s 3–pointer at the end of the half gave them the lead 31-30 after being down by as many as 12 in the first half.
Monmouth was able to take advantage of some poor Quinnipiac zone defense early and led 16-4 in the first six minutes. Yaniv Simpson’s hot hand from behind the arc led the way with 11 points during this stretch, but he was unable keep it up in the second half.
Quinnipiac will travel to Staten Island, N.Y., on Saturday, Dec. 13 for a Northeast Conference game against the Seahawks of Wagner College at 7 p.m. at the Spiro Sports Center.