Junior David Simmons recorded a career high 14 rebounds and added 11 points for his fifth career double-double to lead Central Connecticut State University to a 63-50 road victory over St. Francis (NY) on Thursday night. Junior Shemik Thompson led the Blue Devils with 17 points as they improve to 2-3 overall and start the Northeast Conference season 1-0. The Terriers fall to 1-5 and 0-1 in the NEC.
CCSU used a 8-0 run to build a 16-8 lead with 11:47 remaining in the first half. Thompson got the run started with a driving layup to break an 8-8 tie just five minutes into the game. After a defensive stop by the Blue Devils, junior Markeys Deans came back on the next possession with a driving hook of his own to make it 12-8. Freshman forward Joe Efese and Simmons finished off the stretch with a post up and a streaking layup, respectively. Simmons connected on his layup after junior Ross Pentland drove the lane and found him wide open under the basket.
The Blue Devils extended their first half lead to 23-10 on a traditional three point play by Efese, but the Terriers then mounted their comeback. St. Francis (NY) scored the next 12 points, finishing the run with three pointers by Ricky Cadell and Stefan Perunicic to make it 23-22 with just 3:05 left in the opening period.
CCSU held onto the lead going into the break as senior Joe Seymore picked up a loose ball and finished a runner in the lane with three seconds to spare. The Blue Devils held a 27-24 lead at the half, outshooting the Terriers 34.5 percent to 24.0 percent from the field.
Central came out on fire to start the second half, scoring the first seven points. Seymour connected on his second three pointer of the game to highlight the early run. The Blue Devils cracked down on defense to open the frame, holding St. Francis (NY) scorless for the first 5:40 of the second period.
Back to back fast break baskets put CCSU up 40-29 midway through the second half. Efese was solely responsible for the first as he recorded a block and then went coast to coast for the layup. After a steal by sophomore Robby Ptacek, Ross Pentland finished a put back reverse layup to give Central the 11 point lead with 10:48 remaining in the game.
CCSU went six for six from the free throw line to close out the game by a mark of 63-50. Thompson and Simmons finished with 17 and 11 points, respectively, while Efese and Seymore chipped in with 12 and 10. Efese's total was a career best in his first season at Central. Ptacek ended the game with five points, eight boards and three assists in the Blue Devil victory.
St. Francis (NY) was led by Cadell with 19 points, while Akeem Bennett chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds for the Terriers.
Central will next play at Long Island on Saturday, December 5 at 4:30 p.m.
The 2009-10 men's and women's basketball seasons are brought to
you by Farmington Bank.