After a season of injuries last year, the men’s hoops team has set high goals for themselves this season. The first steps toward achieving that goal were taken on Friday night.
The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team took down the Hartford Hawks 85-74 on Friday night in the last game of the inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic in Bridgeport, Conn.
James Feldeine led the Bobcats with 23 points and five assists to give the Bobcats their third consecutive 1-0 start since Tom Moore took over as head coach three years ago.
“The first half was hard to deal with, psychologically and emotionally, because a lot of guys were excited to play,” Moore said. “I didn’t expect to go 12-deep on the bench in the first half of the first game. I thought we handled it pretty well. I had a feeling that if we could just get to the second half without having a bunch of guys fouling out, then we could grind it out in the second half and that’s sort of the way it played out.”
Down five points early in the second half, the Bobcats started their comeback with an 11-1 run to put them up 59-54. Senior Jeremy Baker’s three-point play was followed by one Hartford free throw and a Feldeine 3-pointer, which tied the score at 54. Freshman Jamee Jackson then converted on a three-point play, and junior Justin Rutty followed with a layup to put the Bobcats up by five. They’d never look back.
“In the second half we looked more like us because we had more of our frontline guys playing,” Moore said. “The depth of the team has allowed us to have really good practices. Guys are getting after each other more. You can’t afford to make any mental mistakes when you have someone almost as good as you breathing down your neck. If we get some bruises or nicks, we’ll have guys coming in that can play at a high level.”
Feldeine, the reigning Most Improved Player of the NEC, led all Bobcats with 35 minutes of action, went 9-for-17 from the field and added two steals.
“At first, the ball wasn’t falling down for me, but I just stuck with it, got my open shots, and knew it was going to fall down eventually,” Feldeine said. “I think the jump shot was really working for me today.”
Jackson, the 6-foot-7 forward out of St. Anthony High School, pulled down three rebounds and blocked two shots in 15 minutes of playing time. Guard Dave Johnson and forward Raheem May-Thompson, both freshmen, also saw action in the season opener.
“The freshmen played great today, they’re going to be big for us this season,” Feldeine said.
Junior Jonathan Cruz, playing is his first career game as a Bobcat, led the team with six boards.
The Bobcats return to action tonight, when they will face Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.