Rutty rebounds, Bobcats beat Lehigh 84-78 [Slideshow]
Justin Rutty rebounded from the glass and from the line in a big way.
Rutty notched his fifth double-double this season, racking up 27 points and 11 rebounds in Quinnipiac’s 84-78 victory over Lehigh, including a perfect 11-11 from the free throw line.
“He had his best practice of the year yesterday, physically and energy-wise,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said, “and it’s always nice to see that translate into such a strong performance tonight.”
The senior forward was spotless from the charity stripe, overcoming a .200 free-throw percentage (3-15) his last two games.
“I kept finishing my free throws,” Rutty said. “I’ve been putting a lot of work into it. I work on it every day and it shows how much I’ve been working on it today.”
Last Wednesday Rutty was 1-7 from the line in the Bobcats’ 66-64 loss to Massachusetts, but that game is already in the rear view mirror.
“I got right back out there right after the game (Wednesday) to shoot free throws because I felt like it was part of the reason why we lost that game,” Rutty said. “I just keep practicing I don’t really think about it too much. You’re gonna make some and you’re gonna miss some.”
The team shot 72 percent from the free-throw line as a whole Tuesday night, compared to 44.7 percent from the line the last two games (and 36 percent against Massachusetts).
Dominique Langston had a career-high 14 rebounds, including 12 on the defensive side.
“I just thought about what coach says: ‘After the shot go for the rebound,’ and that’s what my mentality was,” Langston said. “Coach really stresses us all the time in practice to be relentless on the glass and that’s our identity.”
Quinnipiac (6-2), which entered the game ranked eighth in the country in rebound average (43) and third in offensive rebounds per game (17.71), outrebounded Lehigh 60-34 in the game, including 23 from the offensive side.
The 60 rebounds is a Division I program record.
Photos by Amanda Shulman
“Obviously the job we did on the glass was pretty impressive,” Moore said. “Any time you go plus-26 in a game it’s a pretty big statement.”
The Bobcats held Lehigh (4-5) to 34.9 percent shooting from the field.
“We try to play solid, tough defense and holding someone like that, as good as they are, to 35 percent is something I’m proud of and happy with,” Moore said, crediting his team’s defensive effort.
Freshman guard Mackey McKnight scored 24 points and had seven assists for Lehigh while teammates Michael Ojo and C.J. McCollum each scored 15. McCollum had a team-high six rebounds.
“C.J. McCollum is a great player and that team is a very good team,” Moore said. “You can see why they represented the Patriot League last year in the NCAA tournament.”
The Bobcats outscored the Mountain Hawks 46-18 in the paint and recorded 19 second-chance points in the game
“[Rebounding] has become the staple of our program,” Moore said. “We work on it every day in practice. There’s a culture here now. It’s probably 50-50 between what I brought to the program in terms of my focus on that aspect and what Justin does and how everyone feeds off of that aspect too.”
James Johnson, who set a Quinnipiac record for most consecutive starts to start a Division-I career (72), scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half for the Bobcats and also tallied six assists and four steals. Deontay Twyman also had 10 points while Will Harrison collected nine boards.
The Bobcats will end their five-game homestand Saturday afternoon against Rhode Island, while Lehigh travels to Marist on Friday.