The Bobcats knew they couldn’t fall into the trap – they just couldn’t. With the help of their big three, they didn’t.
Deontay Twyman led Quinnipiac with a game-high 20 points, while James Johnson scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half and Justin Rutty scored 10 of his 12 points in the closing period, as the Bobcats defeated Saint Francis (NY) 74-60 Thursday night at Peter Aquilone Court.
Now the Bobcats can look ahead to Saturday’s matchup against Northeast conference-leader Long Island, which came back to defeat Sacred Heart 81-69.
“We didn’t want to look past this one,” Quinnipiac assistant coach Sean Doherty said. “This was a huge road win for us, and now we have a chance to go into LIU’s place and show them what we got.”
With the Bobcats up by one early in the second, their big three started to step up.
Twyman, Johnson and Rutty scored 26 of Quinnipiac’s next 29 points, including 15 in a row, outscoring the Terriers 29-17 in the run.
“Those guys feed off each other,” Doherty said. “They come in every night and they shoot extra. They’re on the gun all the time. They do all the little things that make you a winning basketball team.”
The three combined to shoot 53.1 percent from the field, while the whole team shot 51.9 percent.
Rutty logged 24 minutes in the game, the most since his return after missing seven games with an elbow injury.
“We all know he’s a game changer,” Doherty said. “With Justin in the game and when he gets it going, it’s tough. You have to put a lot of effort on him on the other team, and that leaves shots for other guys and creates a lane for others – a lot of good things happen when he’s on the court.”
Freshman Dominique Langston left the game early in the first half with an apparent head injury. Langston laid motionless on the ground as the Bobcats dribbled up court before referees stopped the game.
Langston lost consciousness for a short time before EMTs arrived at the arena. Paramedics placed him on a stretcher and took him to a nearby Brooklyn hospital for precautionary measures. His status for Saturday’s game is unknown.
Lance Brown filled in for Langston and scored six points and brought down 12 rebounds for the Bobcats (15-7, 7-4 NEC).
“We talked about how [Lance] has to step up, and when Dominique went down early, he did,” Doherty said. “He took advantage of his opportunity. He’s been coming along and getting better. We know this is the Lance that can help us out like the one at BU when he played really well.”
Johnson and Rutty combined for 17 of Quinnipiac’s 50 rebounds, nine and eight respectively, the fifth time the Bobcats have achieved that mark this season.
Ricky Cadell and Travis Nichols led the Terriers (10-12, 5-6 NEC) with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Saint Francis shot 33.3 percent in the game, including 29 percent in the second half.
Saint Francis had been 7-1 at home before Thursday’s matchup. Its only other loss coming against Mount Saint Mary’s. Both home losses for the Terriers have come when the opposing team shot better than 50 percent from the field.
Though Quinnipiac committed 18 turnovers, the Bobcats managed to steal the ball five times and block seven shots in the game.
Twyman pulled down six rebounds and scored 10 of his points in the first half on 4-6 shooting, giving the Bobcats an early 33-20 advantage. The Terriers scored nine unanswered points to close out the first half.
Jamee Jackson scored eight points while Raheem May-Thompson brought down seven rebounds for QU.