November 14, 2011

Blue Devils Drop Overtime Thriller

 The Central Connecticut men's basketball team went to overtime, but fell to 0-2 on the season with a wild 102-93 loss on the road at Niagara on Monday night.  The game lasted over 2:30 hours, and featured over 60 fouls and 57 total free-throws. 

Freshman guard Kyle Vinales set a CCSU freshman record with 39 points, but fouled out with just under eight minutes remaining in the contest.  Senior Ken Horton scored 20, but he also fouled out.   Neither player would play in overtime.

The Blue Devils will open the home portion of their schedule on Saturday at 2 p.m., hosting Army in Detrick Gym. 

Central climbed out to a quick lead, riding the back of Vinales as he hit eight of his first nine shots from the field and had 19 points in the first six and a half minutes of action.   Vinales also hit a pair of free throws, and following a three from Horton the Blue Devils led 28-12 with under 12 minutes to play.

Central hit 12-of-18 from the field to start the game and led 33-14 at the halfway mark of the first half.

Niagara cut the lead to 43-35 with under four minutes to play before the break.  Central hit 4-of-10 shots during the 21-10 run by the Purple Eagles.

Vinales had one of the best halves in school history, scoring 29 points, as the Blue Devils led 51-41 at halftime.  He hit 11-of-16 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from three, as Central took the halftime lead. 

Horton added 11 points and had five rebounds, and the Blue Devils held a 26-17 advantage on the boards.

Vinales hit a three to open the second half, pushing hit total to 32, but then picked up three fouls in a three minute span and had to sit with four fouls at the 15:35 mark.  Central led 58-52 at the time.  The Purple Eagles scored six straight to tie it at 58-58.  They took their first lead at 62-61 with 11:15 on the clock. 

The Niagara lead stretched to 69-64 on a three from Marvin Jordan following an offensive rebound on a missed three. 

Vinales, who was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week earlier on Monday, checked back into the game, and scored seven more points, before fouling out with 7:45 left in the game.  He attempted to pick up a charge near the top of the key but was called for the block.  He finished the game with 39 points.

Central climbed back, behind the play of Horton and classmate Robby Ptacek, and took an 85-81 lead with under four minutes to play.  Freshman Shelton Mickell hit back-to-back field goals, including a three, to build the four point lead.

With an 85-83 lead, Horton picked up his fifth foul at 1:15.

With the game tied at 86, the Blue Devils had the last possession, and called timeout with 3.6 seconds left on the clock, but Niagara stole the inbounds pass and the game went to overtime.

Niagara took a 93-88 lead 1:24 into overtime, after making a pair of free-throws and then grabbing an offensive rebound, they then converting a three-point play.   They continued to build the lead and force turnovers, taking a 102-93 lead with under a minute to play.

Vinales' 39 points were the most in a single game for the Blue Devils since Tristan Blackwood scored 40 in a win over Robert Morris on Feb. 22, 2007 at home.  It was also tied for the fourth-highest single game total in program history, and the most points ever scored in a single game by a freshman.

Horton finished with 20 and Ptacek had 16 in the loss.  Horton and Vinales have each scored 20 or more in the first two games of the season.

The Blue Devils return to action at home on Saturday hosting Army beginning at 2 p.m.