Senior Ken Horton and freshman Kyle Vinales each scored over 20 points, but the Central Connecticut men's basketball team opened the 2011-12 season with a 73-69 loss to Yale in the Connecticut 6 Classic on Friday night. The game was played at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Horton finished the game with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Vinales added a team-high 24 points, including 10-of-11 from the free-throw line, for the Blue Devils.
Vinales scored the first seven points of the game for the Blue Devils as they climbed out to a 7-2 lead.
Yale used a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game 20-17, but the Blue Devils responded with six straight to make it 23-20 with under eight monutes to play. They led 25-20 after the first basket from freshman Malcolm McMillan.
The Blue Devils led 34-30 at the half, and Horton led all scorers with 12. Central shot just 12-of-34 from the floor, but hit 9-of-14 from the line. Yale was 12-of-31 and 3-of-7 from the line.
Vinales had eight and senior Robby Ptacek had seven at the break.
Yale scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 37-34 lead. The lead reached 40-35 after the second three of the half from Greg Mangano.
The run to start the half reached 16-1 and the Yale lead stretched to 46-35 with 13:45 on the clock.
Central missed its first nine shots of the half. A jumper from senior David Simmons cut it to 46-37. Yale continued its hot shooting, and its third three of the half made it 53-39. Horton made his first three to cut it to 53-42. He had missed his first six from three. The Central run reached 7-0 on a Vinales jumper.
Yale led 58-50 with 7:52 to play, and Central was staying in the game from the free-throw line. Struggling from the field, the Blue Devils hit 7-of-8 from the line to keep the deficit at eight. Horton and Simmons hit layups to cut it to four.
Yale stretched the lead to 65-56 with under four to play on their fourth three of the half.
Vinales hit his second of the game to make it 65-59. A Horton layup cut it to four, and a three-point play from Vinales cut the lead to one with 1:31 on the clock.
Yale hit six free-throws in the next minute to take a 72-66 lead.
The Blue Devils outrebounded Yale 43-36 in the game, led by nine from Horton and five from junior Joe Efese. They also hit 22-of-29 from the line, including 10-of-11 from Vinales.
Central returns to action on Monday night, on the road at Niagara. The game will begin at 7 p.m., and will air on ESPN Radio 1410 and 1300, and online at CCSUBlueDevils.com.