March 5, 2009

Men's Basketball Season Ends on Thursday Night With Quarterfinal Loss at Sacred Heart

The Central Connecticut men's basketball season came to an end on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament. The Blue Devils dropped a 76-64 decision on the road at third-seed Sacred Heart. With the loss the Blue Devils finish the season with a 13-17 overall record, they were the sixth seed in the tournament for the second straight season.

The Blue Devils missed their first five shots from the field before sophomore David Simmons took a pass from classmate Aaron Hall at the 16:10 mark to cut a quick Sacred Heart lead to 7-2. The first basket of the game from junior Joe Seymore cut it to 13-6 but the Blue Devils made just three of their first 13 shots from the field.

The Blue Devil run reached 7-0 on the first three of the game by sophomore forward Ken Horton. The Pioneers answered quickly with a 5-0 run of their own to up their lead to 18-11. An 8-2 run by the Blue Devils cut the lead to one, 20-19, with 4:46 on the clock. Four different players scored during the run for CCSU.

The Pioneers led 33-25 at the half on the strength of 5-of-12 shooting from behind the three-point line. CCSU hit just 11-of-26 from the field and 1-of-6 from three. Eight of the nine players who played for CCSU scored, led by four players who each had four points.

Both teams came out firing the second half and combined to hit nine of the first 13 shots from the floor. Sacred Heart took a 10-point lead with 14:22 to play, 49-39, and then stretched it to 12, 57-45, with under 12 minutes to play. Horton's second three of the game cut it to nine and following a Sacred Heart turnover and a foul Horton hit one of two free-throws to make it 57-49.

The lead climbed back to 13 at 64-51 as the Pioneers continued to shoot well in the second half. Down 11, 71-60, the Blue Devils scored four straight to cut it to 71-64 with 2:46 to play. SHU hit two free-throws with 1:45 on the clock to push the lead back to nine.

The Blue Devils were led by freshman Robby Ptacek who had a game-high 15 points to go along with three rebounds. Horton and Simmons each had 12 for the Blue Devils in the loss. Hall had a team-high seven assists while sophomore Shemik Thompson added nine points, five rebounds and three assists.

The Blue Devils end the season with a 13-17 overall record.