Central Connecticut won for the fourth straight game and the
10th time in its last 12 games defeating Wagner 75-71 on Saturday
afternoon in New Britain. Central led by as many as 24 in the
second half and withstood a Wagner comeback to improve to 14-7
overall and 7-3 in Northeast Conference play. Junior Robby
Ptacek led the offense with 25 points, including a 10-for-10
performance from the free-throw line.
The Blue Devils scored only one field goal in the final 14 minutes of the game, but used an impressive performance at the free-throw line to come away with their ninth home win in 10 tries.
Central was 27-of-34 from the line in the victory, including 18-of-21 in the second half. Ptacek led the way with his 10-for-10 performance. every Blue Devil who played made a trip to the line, and all but one scored a point there. Senior Shemik Thompson and sophomore Joe Efese each hit four attempts.
Efese finished the game with 12 points and seven boards, while junior Chris Baskerville had five points and seven rebounds from the same position on the floor. They combined for 17 points and 14 boards, including nine offensive rebounds.
The Blue Devils trailed 10-4 early in the first half, but used a 19-2 run over a seven minute span to build a 23-12 lead with 9:57 to go before halftime. They led 44-27 at the break after shooting 46.9 percent from the field, including 5-of-13 from three.
In the second half they built their lead to as much as 24, 59-35, with 14:52 on the clock following a layup from junior Ken Horton. That basket would be the last one for the Blue Devils over the next 13:05. A long pass to sophomore Devan Bailey from Horton stopped the drought for the Blue Devils, but would be their only field goal in the last 14:52.
During that time the Seahawks turned the 59-35 deficit into a five-point game at 72-67 with 27 seconds on the clock. They outscored Central 32-13 over that stretch, with 11 of the 13 of the points for the Blue Devils coming from the free-throw line. With the lead at five, Ptacek hit a pair of free-throws to make it seven with 14 seconds to play.
Ptacek's 25 led all scorers. He was 6-of-10 from the field and hit three threes in the game. All 10 of his free-throws came in the second half. Thompson finished the game with nine points, a game-high 11 rebounds and seven assists to go along with four steals. Horton had 13 points and six rebounds along with his four assists and three blocks.
Central outrebounded the Seahawks 39-29 in the game, including 17 on the offensive glass. They had 18 assists on 21 baskets in the game. They forced 18 Wagner turnovers and had nine steals.
The Blue Devils now head to the road to play at St. Francis (PA) and Robert Morris beginning next Thursday night at 7 p.m.