Men Win Overtime Thriller Over SHU

Kenny Horton
Kenny Horton

Senior Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek each scored 30 points, and the Central Connecticut men's basketball team won its fifth straight game, 82-80, in overtime, over Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon.  With the victory the Blue Devils move to 5-2 on the season and 2-0 in Northeast Conference play.

Sacred Heart is now 5-4 overall and 1-1 in the NEC.

"We're 2-0 in the conference now, right where we want to be," head coach Howie Dickenman said following the victory.  "This league is much improved and getting those first two is important.  Now we'll finish non-conference play, and our next two league games will be at home in January."

Horton's 30 marked the first time in his career he has scored 30 or more in back-to-back games.  It was his seventh career game with 30 points.  He added 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, and the 19th of his career.

Ptacek scored 30 for the second time this season.  He moved up three spots on the all-time scoring list on the day.  He is now 22nd all-time with 1,177 career points.  Horton is now two points shy of 1,600 for his career.  He moved up to seventh on the all-time list with his 1,598 career points.

A season-high attendance of 2,004 saw Central win its fourth straight at home.

"The crowd definitely helped us out," Horton said.  "They were a big boost, gave us the fuel, the fire and the pick up we needed out there.  It was fun to have a crowd like that out there today."

Central had taken just six free-throws in regulation, but it was at the line that they would ice the game in the final minutes.  Central was 7-of-8 from the line in overtime, including 4-of-4 from Horton and 3-of-4 from Ptacek.

"We work on our free-throws a lot during practice, and it's paying off," Horton said.  "It's something we always practice, every day, and we needed to turn that over into the game and we were able to do that today."

The Blue Devils led by as many as 12 in the second half, but the Pioneers used a 27-9 run to take an eight point lead, 64-58, with 5:26 to play in the game. 

Five straight points from the Blue Devils, including two free-throws from freshman Adonis Burbage and a three from Ptacek, cut it to one, 64-63 with just over three to play.

The Pioneers took a 68-65 lead with over a minute left, but another three from Ptacek tied the game with 1:10 on the clock, it would be the final points of regulation.

Ptacek scored eight of the 14 points in overtime for the Blue Devils, including another three, as Central would clinch the home victory, their third straight win over Sacred Heart.

Central outrebounded the Pioneers 45-34, including 10 from Horton.  Six players had five or more rebounds for the Blue Devils, including eight from junior Joe Efese.  He also added a season-high 11 points.

The Pioneers were led by Shane Gibson who had a game-high 32 points.  Justin Swidowski added 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Blue Devils return to action on Wednesday night on the road at Michigan State, beginning at 7 p.m.  The game will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN3.

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