Blue Devils Win in Overtime Against Albany in Home Opener

Blue Devils Win in Overtime Against Albany in Home Opener

Sophomore Vince Rosario hit five threes and scored a career-high 17 points as the Central Connecticut State University men's basketball team improved to 3-5 with a 70-68 win at home on Saturday against Albany. The Blue Devils, who played their first seven games away from home this season, were playing in Detrick Gym for the first time in 2009-10. Junior David Simmons posted his second double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the win.

The Blue Devils opened up a 15-7 lead with 13:07 on the first half clock. Junior Shemik Thompson scored six of the first eight points for Central and Rosario hit a three to give the Blue Devils the eight point lead.

Albany responded with 10 straight points to take a 17-15 lead with 10:40 left in the half. Central went almost three minutes without a point as the Great Danes turned the eight point deficit into a two point advantage.

A pair of free-throws by junior David Simmons and a put-back by sophomore Robby Ptacek tied the game at 19-19 with just over eight minutes to play. Albany's run reached 18-4 over a seven minute span and they took a 25-19 lead with 6:08 on the clock. A Thompson jumper and a pair of free-throws from senior Joe Seymore made it 25-23.

Albany led 32-31 at the half and outrebounded Central 20-14. Neither team shot well from three in the half, combining for 2-of-20 shooting behind the arc. Central shot just 32.8 percent (9-of-28) from the field before the break, but hit 12-of-12 from the free-throw line to stay within one. They forced 10 Albany turnovers before the break.

In the second half the Blue Devils regained the lead, 36-34, following a three from Rosario and a jumper by Ptacek.

The Great Danes answered with an 11-3 run to retake the lead, 45-39, with just under 11 minutes to play in the second half. A three by Rosario and a steal by Thompson leading to a fast break bucket by Rosario cut it to 45-44 less than a minute later.

The lead went back to six for the Great Danes following a three-point play by Mike Johnson. He was fouled on a fast break and made the free-throw to make it 50-44.

Freshman Devan Bailey drove the lane for a layup to cut it to two, 54-52. On their next possession Simmons was fouled on an offensive rebound and hit one free-throw to cut it to 54-53. Following an Albany bucket Rosario's fourth three tied the game at 56-56.

Central trailed by four, 60-56, with under a minute to play in regulation. Ptacek was fouled underneath the basket and made a pair of free-throws to cut it to 60-58. After the Great Danes missed a dunk on the other end, Thompson was fouled with under 10 seconds to play in the game. He made both free-throws to tie it at 60-60 and send it to overtime.

In overtime, neither team made a field goal in the first four minutes of play, and the Blue Devils held a 64-63 lead with 2:08 on the clock. Rosario hit his fifth three of the game to increase the lead to four, 67-63. After a pair of free-throws by Thompson made it 69-63, Albany staged a late comeback. They got a three-point play and then a steal which led to another basket, all in an 11 second span, and cut it to 69-68 with 5.7 seconds left to play.

Seymore hit one of two free-throws for Central, and a last ditch shot by Albany went off the rim and the Blue Devils held on for the 70-68 win.

Rosario led the way with a career-high 17 points. He was 5-of-10 from three in the game. Thompson added 16 and was 4-of-4 from the line. Ptacek had 12, and was 8-of-8 from the line. Simmons had his double-double with 11 points and 16 boards. He was 5-of-6 from the line. As a team Central made 24-of-28 from the line in the victory.

The Blue Devils return to action on Dec. 22 at Northwestern beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. It marks the first time since the loss to Ohio State in the 2007 NCAA Tournament that the Blue Devils have faced a team from the Big Ten.