The Central Connecticut men's basketball team moved to a perfect 5-0 in Northeast Conference play with a 71-66 road victory at Mount St. Mary's on Thursday night. The win is the third straight for the Blue Devils and it pushes them to 8-7 overall on the season.
The 5-0 start in the league is the first for Central since the 1999-00 season, when they began league play 12-0.
Senior Ken Horton led the offense with 23 points, and grabbed nine rebounds in the victory. Senior Robby Ptacek added 14, as did freshman Kyle Vinales.
Horton moved into a tie for second place on the all-time scoring list with 1,731 points, just three points shy of tying and four from moving into first place all-time past Damian Johnson. Johnson's record has stood since 1993, almost 20 years.
The Mount led 19-13 early, and held a pair of six point leads before the break. The Blue Devils scored the final 10 points of the first half and took a 36-30 lead at the break. The 10-0 run lasted the final 2:49 of the half, and included a pair of threes by Vinales.
Horton had 13 in the first half, including 7-of-9 from the line. The Mount held an 18-15 advantage on the boards, including 10 offensive rebounds. They had 28 of their 30 points come in the paint.
It was 42-34 with 15:23 left after a basket underneath by junior Joe Efese. He hit all four of his field goal attempts in the game.
A quick 6-0 spurt, including three straight offensive rebounds, and buckets by Horton, sophomore De'Angelo Speech and Efese, made it 48-34 with under 15 minutes to play.
But Mount St. Mary's would come back and force a tight final seven minutes.
They cut it to 55-52 with an 8-0 run that took just under two minutes. They tied the game at 59-59 with 7:07 on the clock. A dunk from senior David Simmons and a running jumper from Vinales made it 63-59.
A pair of free-throws from Horton made it 65-62 with under four minutes to play. With a three point lead, Ptacek hit a three to push the lead to six. The Mount answered with a three of their own and it was 69-66 with 1:58 to play. The Mount didn't score in the final 1:58, and the Blue Devils hit 18-of-23 at the line to secure their third straight win.
Horton led all scorers with 23, his 41st career 20 point game. Ptacek and Vinales had 14, including the only three threes of the game for the Blue Devils. Vinales added four assists, four rebounds and three steals.
The Mount held a slim 32-30 advantage on the boards, but had only two offensive rebounds in the second half. Central forced 22 Mount turnovers.
Central returns to action on the road at Wagner on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m.