Sophomore Ken Horton scored 20 points and freshman Robby Ptacek
added a career-high 18 as the Central Connecticut men's basketball
team won its second straight game, 82-78 over Lafayette, on Sunday
in New Britain. With the win the Blue Devils are 2-3 on the
season. They won for the 18th straight time when scoring 80 or
more points. Sophomore Shemik Thompson posted a career-high 11
assists in the victory.
Central Connecticut scored its final nine points of the game from the free-throw line and hit 12-of-14 in the second half to secure their second straight win. Sophomore Aaron Hall hit a pair of free-throws with 3.6 seconds on the clock to give the Blue Devils the four point edge, 82-78. With an 80-78 lead Thompson and the Blue Devil defense forced a Lafayette turnover and then Thompson hit a pair of free-throws to give CCSU the 80-76 lead. Following a Lafayette hoop Hall hit his clutch free-throws to secure the win.
The Blue Devils led by as many as 14 in the first half, 19-5, but the Leopards clawed their way back to within two at 39-37 with 1:25 to play before halftime. After the Blue Devils led 43-39 at the break, the Leopards scored the first seven points of the second half to take their largest lead of the game, 46-43.
The Blue Devils responded in the second half, led by Horton who scored 12 of his 20 points after the break. Horton sat much of the first half after picking up his second foul with 9:08 on the clock.
CCSU took a 51-48 lead with an 8-2 run with 15:26 left on the clock but the Blue Devils could not pull away from Lafayette. The Leopards took a 57-56 lead before five straight points by the Blue Devils made it 61-57 with 10:02 left to play. The lead reached eight at 71-63 but Lafayette would respond again.
Lafayette stormed back to tie the game at 75-75 with 2:20 on the clock but the Blue Devils would use free-throws to put the game away. Horton made 4-of-4, Thompson hit 3-of-4 and Hall hit his two attempts as the Blue Devils outscored the Leopards 7-2 in the final minute of the game, all from the line.
The win is the second straight for CCSU and it marked the fourth straight game where the Blue Devils outrebounded their opponent. They held a 38-35 edge on Sunday including nine by sophomore David Simmons and seven by Horton. Horton also added four blocks in the victory. This season CCSU is outrebounding its opponents 36.8 to 34.0.
Thompson set his new career-high with 11 assists, he has 21 in his last two games. CCSU had 17 assists in the game against 16 turnovers. The 11 dimes are the most for a Blue Devil since Damian Battles had 13 in a win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 7, 2002. He is also the first Blue Devil to post 10 or more assists twice in a season since Battles did it during the same year. He is the first Blue Devil to post 10 or more assists in back-to-back games since David Corbitt did it during the 1991-92 season. Corbitt had 13 assists in a game vs. Brooklyn College on Feb. 29, 1992 and then 16, the second-highest single game total in CCSU history, in a game against Buffalo on Mar. 2, 1992. He is the first NEC player since Robert Morris's Tony Lee to post two back-to-back 10+ assist games. Lee did it on Feb. 9 (10) and Feb. 14 (11) of last season.
Ptacek set a new career-high with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field. He added four rebounds and a pair of assists in 34 minutes. Junior Joe Seymore added 12 points including six in a one minute span in the second half to turn a two point lead into an eight point advantage for the home team. Sophomore Aaron Hall added 11 points in 19 minutes of action while Simmons had eight points and nine boards.
Horton is the first Blue Devil since Tristan Blackwood to score 20 or more points in three straight games. Blackwood did it once during the 2007-08 season. Blackwood did it four times in 2006-07 and former Blue Devil Javier Mojica had a span of five straight 20+ point games during the same season.
The win is the 194th in the career of 13-year head coach Howie Dickenman. He is six shy of becoming the second coach in school history to record 200 wins.
The Blue Devils are in action again on Wednesday at Delaware beginning at 7 p.m. Fans can listen on ESPN Radio 1410 in Hartford and ESPN Radio 1300 in New Haven or on CCSUBlueDevils.com