The Central Connecticut men's basketball team suffered its first
loss of the season on Monday night on the road at Penn State,
77-61. The Blue Devils, who opened this season 3-0 for the first
time in over a decade, are now 3-1 on the season and will play
again this Saturday at home against Monmouth at 2 p.m. Central and
Monmouth are playing the earliest Northeast Conference game in
exactly 10 seasons. The game is also the home opener for CCSU.
Central fell behind 9-0 before scoring their first basket of the game. A bucket by senior Shemik Thompson 4:30 into the game and then a transition basket and a free-throw from senior Markeys Deans made it 9-5.
Thompson's second bucket of the game cut the PSU lead to 12-9 and capped a 9-3 run by the Blue Devils. After missing their first three shots of the game the Blue Devils hit 4-of-5 and cut the Nittany Lion lead to 14-11. The Blue Devil run reached 15-6 and Central cut the lead to 16-15 with under 11 minutes to play before halftime.
A 17-6 run for the Nittany Lions made it 33-21 with just over three left before halftime. A five point run from junior Ken Horton, including a three, followed by a pair of free-throws, cut it to 36-25 with under a minute to play. Penn State led 38-26 at halftime.
Central shot just 36 percent from the field (9-of-25) in the half, and Penn State hit on 46.9 percent (15-of-32). The Blue Devils missed their first eight three-point attempts before Horton hit the first one of the game. They were only 1-of-10 from three before halftime.
Deans led the offense with nine points, but played only nine minutes because of foul trouble.
Penn State began the second half and opened up a 56-31 lead with a 18-5 run to build the 25 point lead. The run took just over five minutes.
Five straight points from Thompson cut the Nittany Lion lead to 62-40 about halfway through the period. Thompson hit his first three of the game to slice into the lead. Central cut the lead to 77-61 to end the game by running off a 19-6 run to end the game.
Thompson led the offense with his 18 points in the game. It marked the fourth time in as many games this season that he has reached double-figures. He also added seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks in the loss. Deans added 14 points for his second straight double-figure game, while sophomore Joe Efese had a season-high 11 points. Junior Robby Ptacek added 10.
The Blue Devils open the Northeast Conference and home portion of their schedule this Saturday, Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. hosting Monmouth. The conference tilt is the earliest NEC game for any team in the conference in the last 10 seasons.