The Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s basketball team spoiled the Maine’s home opener on Tuesday night as it limited the Black Bears to 30.6 percent shooting in a 59-46 victory to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Sophomore James Johnson scored 16 points, hit four of six 3-point attempts, dished out a team-high four assists and led the Bobcats in steals with four. Johnson’s sharp shooting made him the only Bobcat to score in double figures in all four games of the season.
The Black Bears found points tough to come by as their two leading scorers coming in, guard Gerald McLemore and forward Sean McNally, were held to just six field goals on 25 attempts (24 percent) in the loss.
“Defense is what we talk about,” Quinnipiac assistant coach Eric Eaton said. “It’s the first thing we talk about every pre-game, it’s what we talk about in practice and we held them to 30 percent. That’s a tough defensive effort. We’ll take that every night and that will give us a chance to win some games.”
In the early going, the Bobcats were led by junior Justin Rutty who scored six of his 14 points in the first five minutes of play. After a nice pass from Johnson, Rutty put in a lay up that moved Quinnipiac ahead for good 6-4, as the Bobcats never trailed in the contest.
Quinnipiac built its lead to 13 points after a 3-pointer from Johnson in the first half and took a 31-25 lead going into halftime.
A quick 7-2 run in the first three minutes of the second half brought Maine back to within one point of the lead, but Johnson stymied the rally by hitting his second 3-pointer of the game.
Quinnipiac went on to outscore the Black Bears 28-21 in the half en route to their third victory of the season.
Also contributing in the victory was Jeremy Baker who recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jonathan Cruz also put forth a solid effort with six points and six boards.