The Central Connecticut men's basketball team improved to 3-0 in Northeast Conference play with a 69-58 home victory over St. Francis (PA) on Thursday night. The win snaps a five-game losing streak and moves the Blue Devils to 6-7 overall on the season.
Central is now 5-1 at home on the year. They are 3-0 in league action for the first time since 1999-00 and for only the second time in their 15 seasons in the NEC.
Senior Robby Ptacek scored all 15 of his points after halftime, including 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. He added three steals, three assists and four rebounds in the victory, the first for CCSU since December 3.
The Blue Devils trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, but used an 8-0 run in the final 4:33 to close the gap to 33-32 at the half.
The Red Flash opened up a seven-point edge early in the second half, but went cold from the field as the Blue Devils turned a 39-32 deficit into a 41-41 tie over a 6:18 span, ending at the 10:28 mark on the half.
It was all Blue Devils in the final seven minutes. With the game tied 48-48, Central used a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to take the first double-figure lead of the night. The Blue Devils forced six turnovers during the run. The did not have a steal in the first half, and then recorded nine in the final 20 minutes.
Central hit 23-of-32 from the line in the win, and had 10 assists. They turned the ball over just 12 times but forced 22 from the Red Flash.
Freshman Kyle Vinales had a game-high 27 points, including 20 in the first half. He was 8-of-13 from the field and hit four threes. He also added two assists.
Senior Ken Horton struggled from the field hitting only 3-of-10, but record his fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. His 11 points marked the 38th straight game that he has scored in double-figures.
Horton's 11 points give him 1,687 for his career. He is now 48 points short of the school-record for career points. He also surpassed 700 career rebounds on the night.
Ptacek's 15 paced the Blue Devils in the second half. He hit his first six free-throws before missing one of his final two, finishing 7-of-8 on the night. His string of consecutive free-throws made ended at 31. He is now 57-of-61 on the season.
The Red Flash were led by Scott Eatherton's 24 points and 12 rebounds. St. Francis (PA) held a 39-30 edge on the boards, including 16 offensive rebounds.
The Blue Devils, now 3-0 in the league, will host Robert Morris on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.