By Kevin Lo
(HAMDEN, Conn.) – The Bryant Bulldogs tasted a little bit of what the NEC might be like today and by the looks of things, they might like it.
The future NEC program, Bryant, defeated Quinnipiac 72-68, in a non-conference game at the TD Banknorth Sports Center Saturday. The Bobcats fall to 10-13 with the loss, while the Bulldogs improve to 7-17.
Bryant’s Nick Pontes led all scorers with 21 points, while four starters from Quinnipiac finished with double figures.
James Feldeine led the way with 15 points followed by James Johnson’s 14 and Bryan Geffen’s 12. Justin Rutty continues to establish himself as one of the most dangerous players in the NEC compiling his league-leading 10th double double.
The two teams battled for much of the first half and the game remained close but the second half was a different story.
Head coach Tom Moore noted his team’s hot offensive start in the first half may have led to a lull in defensive intensity in the second.
“A couple guys in their mind became offensive players. We are not an offensive team, we can’t beat teams in shootouts,” Moore said.
The Bobcats led 33-32 at the half but opened up the second down four just five minutes into the game eventually leading to an 11-3 Bryant run.
“We played so poor defensively all game. We had a bad first half defensively and played even worst second half defense,” Moore said.
With 8:40 to go, the Bobcats had put together an 8-2 run and eventually tied the game at 55.
At the four-minute mark, Bryant found themselves up three. The Bulldogs proceeded to go on a 5-0 run over the next minute to lead 67-59.
The Bobcats wouldn’t go down without a fight. James Feldine stole the ball with just under two minutes to go and finished with a lay-up. Just after that possession James Johnson recorded his second steal of the game and was sent to the line where he went 1-2.
Geffen was fouled on the rebound and made his trip to the line where he also missed one of two with his second missed attempt being rebounded and put in by Justin Rutty making the score 70-68.
Bryant was fouled and sealed the game with two free-throws taking the lead for good 72-68.
Quinnipiac returns to action Thursday, when they travel to Pennsylvania to take on St. Francis. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at DeGol Arena.
Click here to view the box score from this game.