Men's Hoops Tops Long Island 74-65 at Home

Men's Hoops Tops Long Island 74-65 at Home

The Central Connecticut men's basketball team won for the fifth time in its last seven home games, topping Long Island 74-65 on Thursday night in New Britain. With the win Central improves to 11-17 overall and 8-9 in Northeast Conference play. The Blue Devils were led by freshman Joe Efese who scored 12 points, grabbed seven boards and became only the second player in CCSU history to record eight blocks in a game. With the loss the Blackbirds are now 12-16 overall and 10-7 in the league. Central returns to action on Saturday and will celebrate Senior Day when they host St. Francis (NY) beginning at 1 p.m.

The Blue Devils need a win on Saturday to qualify for the NEC Tournament, which begins next Wednesday night. With a win and a Monmouth loss the Blue Devils would be the #7 seed. With a win and a Monmouth win Central would be the #8 seed. A loss ends the season for Central.

Long Island led 5-2 before the Blue Devils used a 9-0 run to take an 11-5 lead with 16:28 to play in the first half. The Blackbirds answered, scoring nine of the next 11 points in the game and leading 14-13 four minutes later. A 7-1 run by the Blue Devils, capped by baskets from senior Joe Seymore and Efese, put Central up five, 20-15. Long Island answered again with five straight to tie the game at 20 with 9:07 on the clock before halftime.

The Blackbird run reached 7-0 and they took a 30-25 lead with under five minutes to play. A Seymore offensive rebound and bucket ended the run and cut the lead to three. Central scored six straight to take the lead again, 31-30.

A three at the halftime buzzer gave Long Island the 35-33 lead at the break. They hit 12-of-30 from the floor and 5-of-8 from three in the half. Central hit 15-of-35 from the field and 2-of-8 from three. They outrebounded the Blackbirds 24-15.

In the second half, the Blue Devils took a 45-41 lead following a 7-0 run, highlighted by three from Seymore and two hoops from Efese. A three from Jaytornah Wisseh cut it to 45-44.

With the game tied at 48, Efese and classmate Devan Bailey each hit baskets to give Central a 52-48 lead with 8:10 on the clock. Wisseh tied it with a pair of free-throws with 5:51 on the clock. Junior Markeys Deans gave Central a 54-52 lead.

Central led by four, but Long Island tied the game for the seventh time at 56 with 3:33 on the clock. Central responded with five straight to take a 61-56 lead. A three from sophomore Robby Ptacek, his second of the game, made it 64-58 before Wisseh hit a shot to cut it to four. Deans three-point play gave Central the 67-60 edge with 1:26 on the clock.

Deans led CCSU with 16 points and seven rebounds. Efese added 12 points, seven boards and is now one of two Blue Devils in program history to record eight blocks in a game. His eight blocks is the eighth highest single-game total in school history. Ptacek chipped in with 12 points, while junior Shemik Thompson added 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Blue Devils return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. against St. Francis (NY). The game will mark the final home game in the career of Seymore and junior Ross Pentland. They will be honored prior to tip-off.