January 10, 2009

Sophomores Horton and Thompson Lead Blue Devils to 91-78 Win at FDU on Saturday Night

The Central Connecticut men's basketball team won its second straight Northeast Conference game with a 91-78 victory on the road at Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday night. Sophomore forward Ken Horton led the way with 29 points, the second-best scoring output of his career Classmate Shemik Thompson added 12 points and nine assists in the victory while senior Marcus Palmer add 23 points in the win. With the win the Blue Devils improve to 7-8 overall and 3-2 in league play. The Knights are 2-13 overall and 2-4 in the NEC with the loss. Central Connecticut returns to action on Thursday night at Robert Morris beginning at 7 p.m.

Both teams started 6-of-10 from the field and the Knights hit three of their first five threes to take a 15-14 lead at the first media timeout with 14:15 on the clock. Fairleigh Dickinson took a 29-23 lead its fifth three pointer of the half with 8:43 to play before the break.

The Blue Devils cut it to 31-29 as Horton scored his eighth straight point for CCSU and his 14th of the game. A pair of free-throws from Thompson tied it at 31 with under seven minutes to play. The run reached 10-0 on a basket by freshman Robby Ptacek and a pair of free-throws by Horton as CCSU led 35-31 with just over four to play before the half.

The run was 16-3 when Horton scored his 20th point of the half and sophomore David Simmons hit a lay-up to make it 41-34 in favor of the visitors. The Knights scored the final four points before the break to make it 41-38 at the half.

Horton led the way offensively for CCSU with 20, while Thompson had four points and six assists. CCSU hit 17-of-26 shots from the floor including both three-point attempts. They shot a season-best 65.4 percent from the field before halftime.

The Knights had at least 11 points before the break. Cameron Tyler and Sean Baptiste each had 11 while Eric Moore had 12 to lead the home team. The Knights were only 15-of-35 from the floor but hit 6-of-15 from three including three by Tyler and two by Moore.

Central Connecticut opened the second half scoring seven of the first nine points to stretch its lead to 48-39. A three by Ptacek, his first of the game, gave the Blue Devils their largest lead to that point.

After the Knights cut it to five a three by Palmer and an old fashioned three-point play by Horton made it 56-45. Horton scored on the next possesion, his 27th point, to make it 58-45. FDU would cut it to eight twice in a span of two minutes but both times three-point baskets by Palmer ended the mini-run and gave CCSU an 11-point edge. Palmer scored eight straight points for the Blue Devils to make it 67-56 with 7:29 on the clock.

FDU cut it to 71-62 before Thompson hit a pair of free-throws to give CCSU back the 11 point lead. A three by the Knights on their next possession and then a steal and a basket cut the lead to 73-67 with 3:52 to play. The FDU run was 11-2 and covered just over two minutes. Thompson hit a jumper and Palmer made one of two free-throws to give CCSU the 80-71 edge. Palmer hit a lay-up off an inbound pass to make it 82-71.

The Blue Devils hit 9-of-10 free-throws in the final 1:30 to secure the victory. They had 22 assists in the game but also turned the ball over 21 times in the game. They outrebounded the Knights 38-28.

Horton led the way for the Blue Devils with his 14th career game with 20 or more points. He scored 29 points and grabbed five rebounds. Palmer added a season-best 23 points to go along with eight boards. Thompson finished the game with 12 points and nine assists. Simmons had seven points and eight rebounds while sophomore Tamir Johnson had eight points and matched his career-high with nine rebounds.

The Blue Devils return to action on Thursday night as they continue their road trip at Robert Morris at 7 p.m. The game can be heard live on the CCSU ESPN Radio Network on ESPN Radio 1410 in Hartford and ESPN Radio 1300 in New Haven.