By Kevin Lo
(HAMDEN, Conn.) – The Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s basketball team stumbled out of the gate but were still able to defeat Long Island University 69-63, Saturday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. The win improves their record to 9-12 on the year – 5-6 in the NEC – and snaps a four-game skid.
Bryan Geffen finished with 16 points after a stellar first half. Justin Rutty, the game’s second-half star, finished with his fourth consecutive double-double, netting 16 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high five assists.
Quinnipiac rallied back from an early 10-point deficit in the first to take the lead at the half 31-28.
The second half started similarly to the first as LIU went on a 5-0 run and turned the 31-28 deficit into a 5-point lead.
The game remained close all night long. Quinnipiac had a 43-42 lead at the 10:33 mark in the second half and was unable to pull away. With 7:48 to go the Bobcats only led by two, 48-46.
With 3:45 to go the Bobcats found themselves down 54-52, not having scored since the 5:50 mark.
Quinnipiac’s sleeping giants responded with a run of their own. After a slow offensive first half where Rutty was 1-6 from the floor, he finished 4-10 from the field and 8-11 from the line.
“Rutty’s practiced his free-throw shooting more the past 10 days then he has the entire year,” said coach Tom Moore. “If he goes 3-7 or 3-10 we don’t win today’s game.”
The Bobcats physical defense was able to hold LIU’s leading scorers, Jaytornah Wisseh and Kyle Johnson to seven and eight points respectively.
At one point in the game, Quinnipiac’s tallest player was 6-7 Rutty and their second tallest player was 6-4 James Feldine. Despite the lack of size Moore said he’s comfortable with a small lineup.
The game was physical all night long. In the first half alone there were 27 total fouls. Quinnipiac was already in the bonus, 10 minutes into the game.
Quinnipiac fought back from an early 10-point deficit thanks to the strong first half play of Geffen. Geffen’s 11 points in the first half points helped the Bobcats stay in the game despite the offensive struggles of Rutty and Feldine.
“I’ll always have a place in my heart for him,” Moore said. “He could go for 16 on any given night, I love the confidence, and you got to have him on the court.”
Quinnipiac’s next game will be on Thursday when they travel to Fairfield, Conn., to take on the Pioneers of Sacred Heart at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on MSG.
Click here to view the boxscore from this game.