Rutty scores 1,000th point in rout win over Terriers [Slideshow]

John Healy

Photo credit: Charlotte Greene

It was a milestone night for junior Justin Rutty, but the same old story for the Quinnipiac Bobcats.

Rutty scored his 1,000th career point, while he and James Johnson each scored 17 as they led the Bobcats (17-7, 11-2) to a 77-65 victory over the St. Francis (N.Y.) Terriers at the TD Banks Sports Center on Thursday night.

“It’s definitely the greatest achievement of my life,” Rutty said of the milestone. “It’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.

Although 12 points separated the two teams at the end of the game, the win did not come so easily for the Bobcats, as they had to battle with their leading scorer, James Feldeine, on the bench most of the first half due to early foul trouble.

St. Francis (10-14, 7-6 NEC)  led by as many as seven points early in the first half, but Dave Johnson and James Johnson each hit key 3-pointers to bring the Bobcats back into the game.

“We had a lot of open looks in the zone,” James Johnson said. “We were able to knock some shots down and start to feel comfortable with our offense.”

James Johnson hit a key 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to tie the game at 19 apiece with 9:51 remaining in the half. After two free throws by Terrier forward Akeem Bennett Johnson responded with a layup to tie the game. But then Deontay Twyman hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Bobcats a 27-23 lead that they would not relinquish.

“The more you win, the more comfortable you feel with your group,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said. “But I was pretty frustrated with how we played offense. I was waiting for our offense to get into more of a rhythm the second half to keep the lead or maybe extend the lead to 15.”

St. Francis shot 20 percent from beyond the arc in the second half, while the Bobcats secured the victory by hitting 72 percent of their free throws.

Bobcat forward Jonathan Cruz had a career-high 16 points while grabbing 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.

The team seems to have also caught the attention of the students, as they have been showing plenty of support over the last few games.

“We’re in second place in this league right now and have the chance to host a couple NEC Tournament games,” Moore said. “It seems like the students understand that this would be neat to if we could be here to see them win a couple NEC tournament games. We hope all the students stay connected with us, keep coming and enjoy the wins.”

The team is an undefeated 10-0 at home, has won three in a row, and taken 10 of its last 11.

“We’re playing great right now,” Rutty said. “We just hope we finish off the rest of the season unbeaten and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

Quinnipiac remained in second place in the NEC, as first-place Robert Morris (17-9, 12-1 NEC) beat Central Connecticut State (9-15, 6-7 NEC) 69-60 on Thursday night to secure its one-game lead over Quinnipiac.

The Bobcats will prepare for another conference matchup at the TD Bank Sports Center on Saturday when they face the Long Island Blackbirds at 2 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics