Johnson, Rutty lead Bobcats to semis

Robin Schuppert

Tom Moore said the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage will only be beneficial if his team can win the first game. On Thursday night the Bobcats fought off a tough challenge to earn another home game and stay alive in the Northeast Conference Tournament.

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The Quinnipiac men’s basketball team beat Monmouth University, 84-75, on Thursday night at the TD Bank Sports Center to advance to the semifinals where they will host Long Island University on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“We showed a lot of toughness and resiliency in the second half,” Moore said. “Monmouth did a great job in the first half. We were emotional in the second half, in a good way, and the crowd was great.”

Sophomore guard James Johnson led all players with 23 points and eight assists, and junior forward Justin Rutty finished with his fifth straight double-double and 15th of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Johnson shot 6-for-8 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from 3-point distance and also added three steals. With 3:51 left in the game and a four-point lead, Johnson stepped up and knocked down a pivotal trifecta.

“We’re playing with our back against the wall,” Johnson said. “It’s one and done, so I just wanted to be a little more aggressive, and be a little more aggressive on defense.”

Photo credit: Andrew Vazzano