Men Drop Third Straight, Fall at Long Island on Saturday Afternoon

Men Drop Third Straight, Fall at Long Island on Saturday Afternoon
The Central Connecticut men's basketball team dropped to 18-11 overall and 11-7 in Northeast Conference play with a 86-72
loss on the road at Long Island on Saturday. The loss is the third straight and the fourth in the last five games for the Blue
Devils. The Blue Devils will be the fourth seed in the upcoming NEC Tournament, and will host fifth seed St. Francis (NY) on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Detrick Gym.

Long Island outscored the Blue Devils 52-36 in the second half of the game on Saturday. They finish the regular season 24-5 overall and 16-2 in league play. They will be the tournament's top seed beginning Thursday night and will play at home as long as they keep winning in the tournament.

Junior Ken Horton led the Blue Devils in scoring with 23 points. He hit five threes in the game and had 14 at halftime. He added 10 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season.

The game was tied at nine, before the Blackbirds used an 8-0 run to build a 17-8 lead. Central answered, fueled by six straight points from junior Chris Baskerville. They held a 22-21 lead after a jumper from sophomore Devan Bailey.

The Blue Devils held a slim 36-34 advantage at the half, after finishing the period with a 23-13 run over the final 10 minutes. They hit only 3-of-13 to start the game but finished the half making 11-of-16 and outscoring the Blackbirds by 10. Horton led all scorers at the break with 14 points. He hit four threes.

Central held Long Island to 12-of-33 shooting in the half, but Long Island outrebounded the Blue Devils 25-13, including 11 offensive boards. Julian Boyd had eight at rebounds at the break, including four on the offensive end.

Central turned the ball over just five times in the first half, and had 11 assists.

Long Island scored the first nine points of the second half to take a 43-36 lead. Central missed its first seven shots and turned the ball over three times in the first four minutes before hitting its first basket, a jumper from senior Shemik Thompson. A basket from Baskerville cut the lead to 43-40.

The Blue Devils cut the lead to two, but the Blackbirds responded with a run and led 55-48 with 9:26 on the clock. The lead reached 15, 74-59, after Long Island's David Hicks hit three straight threes on three straight possessions for the Blackbirds. The LIU run was 14-4 and the lead was 15.

Horton led the Blue Devils with 23 points and 10 boards. He was 8-of-17 from the floor and 5-of-11 from three. Thompson added 12 and junior Robby Ptacek had 11 on 4-of-7 shooting. Ptacek is just three points away from scoring his 1,000th career point in just three seasons with the Blue Devils.

Central will play again in the first round of the NEC Tournament at home on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against St. Francis (NY). The Blue Devils are the fourth seed while St. Francis (NY) is the fifth seed. Central and the Terriers split the season series this season, with each team winning on their home floor.

The Blue Devils will play at home in the NEC Tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Central is 5-1 all-time at home in the NEC Tournament.