For the first time in 13 seasons as the head coach at Central Connecticut, head coach Howie Dickenman and the Blue Devils lost on the road against Quinnipiac. The Bobcats defeated the Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon, 69-55, to claim the fifth seed in the upcoming Northeast Conference Tournament next week. The Blue Devils will be the sixth seed in the tournament and will play at Sacred Heart on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils had not lost in Hamden since 1981 and Dickenman was 10-0 in his career on the road vs. the Bobcats. With the loss CCSU ends the regular season 13-16 overall and 8-10 in NEC action.
The Blue Devils hit nine of their first 14 shots from the
field to start the game, and led 19-11 with 10:36 on the clock.
Sophomore Tamir Johnson had six early points while grabbing a
couple of rebounds and the Blue Devils used a 7-0 run to build the
eight point lead.
A 9-2 run by the Bobcats over the next two minutes cut the Blue Devil lead to 21-20 with 8:06 on the clock. Central Connecticut turned the ball over twice during the run leading to five of the Bobcat points.
The run reached 17-5 after the fourth three of the half by James Feldeine, making the score 28-24 in favor of the Bobcats. Sophomore Shemik Thompson's jumper in the lane, his eighth points of the game, cut it to two. Another Thompson basket and a driving layup by Simmons gave the Blue Devils a 30-28 lead with two minutes to play.
Quinnipiac scored five of the final six points of the half to take a 33-31 lead at the break. CCSU hit 14-of-29 from the field but hit only four of their final 13 in the half. Thompson led the way with 10 for Central Connecticut while Johnson and Simmons each had six. Feldeine led all scorers with 16 points at the break.
The teams traded baskets to open the second half and the Bobcats led by one, 37-36, at the first media timeout with 15:28 on the clock. They built an eight point lead on the heels of nine straight points to lead 44-36.
After Quinnipiac led 46-38 the Blue Devils used a quick 6-2 run, highlighted by a follow-up dunk by sophomore Ken Horton, to cut it to 48-44 with 8:08 to play. The Bobcats responded with five straight points, including a banked in three from Feldeine, to build the lead to nine, 53-44. A pair of free-throws from Horton cut it to seven.
Another three off the glass, this time by Brian Geffen, made it an 11-point lead, 59-48, with under four minutes to play. It reached 13 before Johnson hit three free-throws to make it 61-51 with just over two minutes to play. Following a Bobcats bucket freshman Robby Ptacek hit his first three of the game to cut it to 63-54.
Simmons and Thompson each led the Blue Devil offense with 12
points. Simmons and Johnson each had seven rebounds in the loss.
Thompson added nine points. Horton added 11 points and three
rebounds for CCSU.
The Blue Devils advance to their 11th straight NEC Tournament next Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart. The 11 straight NEC Tournament appearances is the longest active streak in the league. The game will be broadcast live on the CCSU ESPN Radio network and on CCSUBlueDevils.com.