Two Straight for Men's Basketball
Three players combined to score 71 points as the Central Connecticut men's basketball team won its second straight game, 77-69, at home over UMBC on Tuesday night. With the win Central improves to 2-2 overall. UMBC falls to 0-5.
Freshman Kyle Vinales scored a game-high 29 points, while seniors Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek each scored 21, as Central moved to 2-0 at home.
It marked the first time that three CCSU players scored 20 or more in a single game since a 29-point win over UMass at home last season.
The Blue Devils hit 23-of-30 from the free-throw line, and turned the ball over just eight times on their way to the victory.
"I thought the positives were the free-throws and the fact that we turned it over only eight times," head coach Howie Dickenman said. "We made some defensive stops when we had to. I thought Robby (Ptacek) did a good job defensively. Anytime we have more assists than turnovers it is a good thing."
Central trailed by three, 56-53, with 9:23 to play in the game, but responded with four straight points by Ptacek to take a 57-56 lead. They would never trail again on their way to their seventh straight home victory over a non-conference opponent.
Horton scored 13 of his points in the second half. He was 7-of-9 from the line and added a team-high nine rebounds. Ptacek had 12 points after the break, and he made 8-of-9 from the stripe.
Vinales led the team in scoring for the third time in four games this season. The two-time Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week hit 10-of-20 from the field, two threes, and was 7-of-8 from the line in 38 minutes of action.
"We work on free-throws every day in practice," Vinales said. "We also made an effort in the last few days to cut back on turnovers, and I think it worked."
Horton was asked about the last six minutes and the defensive intensity as the Blue Devils held a nine-point lead late in the game. "We need to keep bringing the intensity on defense, keep up our energy. We had to buckle down on defense in order to close out the game and we were able to do that."
Central forced 16 UMBC turnovers in the game, leading to 16 CCSU points.
The Blue Devils had seven blocks, led by three from junior Joe Efese. Horton added two, as well as two assists and a pair of steals. Vinales added three assists and two steals.
Central continues its homestand hosting Hartford on Saturday at 2 p.m.