Men's Season Ends With Semifinal Loss at Long Island on Sunday

Men's Season Ends With Semifinal Loss at Long Island on Sunday

The Central Connecticut men's basketball season came to an end on Sunday afternoon with a 69-67 loss on the road to Long Island in the Northeast Conference semifinals. With the loss Central ends the year with a 19-12 overall mark. Long Island advances and will host NEC finals on Wednesday night, and is now 26-5 overall on the season. Junior Robby Ptacek led the Blue Devils with 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half.

Central took a 15-4 lead on the Blackbirds in the first 7:19 of the game. The only three of the game for junior Ken Horton stretched the lead to 11, as the Blue Devils held the Blackbirds to only one field goal in their first five attempts and they forced five turnovers.

With the Blue Devils holding a 17-8 lead, Horton picked up his second foul with 11:12 on the clock before halftime.

The Blackbirds outscored the Blue Devils 24-11 over the final nine minutes of the half, as Central struggled to score in the halfcourt. Central his just 5-of-15 from the field to end the break and trailed 32-28 after leading by as many as 11.

Long Island hit on its last five attempts and 7-of-11 from the floor to end the half. Freshman Jason Brickman led all scorers with 11, including 3-of-3 from three. Thompson and freshman Terrell Allen each had six points for the Blue Devils. Horton played just eight minutes and scored five points.

Central retook the lead in the first four minutes of the second half and led 38-35 with under 15:00 to play. They began the half on an 10-3 run and held LIU to 1-of-7 shooting. A quick 5-0 run for the Blackbirds game them back a two point lead and forced a CCSU timeout.

Central answered with a 5-0 run of its own to take a 43-42 lead after a three-point play from freshman Terrell Allen. The team's traded baskets, and then with the Blue Devils down three, Thompson forced a pair of turnovers that led to four straight points and a 49-48 Central lead.

A 9-0 run for the Blackbirds gave the home team a 57-49 lead with under six minutes to play.

Down eight, the Blue Devils used a three from Thompson and then two straight from Ptacek to cut the lead to 61-60 with 1:51 on the clock. After a three from LIU, Allen's bucket made it a two point game with a minute to play. Central forced a turnover but Allen missed a shot at the other end.

A pair of free-throws by Long Island gave them a 66-62 lead but Ptacek hit another three to make it 66-65 with under 20 seconds to play. Two free-throws for LIU made it a three-point game and a late three from the Blue Devils was off the mark.

Ptacek's 15 led the Blue Devils. Allen and Horton each added 13 points and Allen had a career-high eight rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Thompson had 11 points, nine assists, four rebounds and four steals in the game. His four steals give him 202 in his four-year career with Central. He also finishes with 1,327 career points, 483 assists and 459 rebounds.