The Central Connecticut men's basketball team dropped a 64-63 overtime decision to Fairfield in the fourth annual Connecticut 6 Classic on Saturday night. The loss drops Central to 0-1 while Fairfield is now 1-0 on the season.
Sophomore Kyle Vinales led the offense for the Blue Devils, scoring 18 points. He added three assists and a pair of steals. He led four players who scored in double-figures for the Blue Devils. The Blue Devils caused 19 Fairfield turnovers and had 11 team steals.
Central returns to action on Monday night at St. Peter's beginning at 7 p.m.
The Blue Devils led 7-2 early, but an 11-0 run by the Stags made it 13-7. A three from sophomore Adonis Burbage stopped the run. Down 16-10, the Blue Devils went on a 10-0 run to take a 20-16 lead. Five points from Vinales, a runner from classmate Malcolm McMillan and a second Burbage three fueled the run.
Central trailed 34-31 at the break after shooting 13-of-29 from the field but 5-of-11 from three. Vinales led the way with 12. Burbage had nine, all on threes.
Fairfield shot 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Blue Devils 17-14. Each team had six turnovers.
Both teams struggled from the field to open the second half, and the Stags led 43-38 at the halfway point. A jumper from Vinales cut the lead to three with just over nine minutes to play in the half.
A three from junior Matt Hunter with under six minutes to play gave the Blue Devils a 47-45 lead. Following a five second turnover forced by McMillan, senior Joe Efese hit a pair of free-throws to make it 49-45 with 5:07 to play. Central held a four point lead with under four minutes to play but the Stags out-scored the Blue Devils 8-4 in the final minutes to tie the game at 55-55 with 1:24 to play.
Each team had a chance to win in the final seconds. A shot from Vinales was off the mark, and then the Stags missed a chance as the clock ran out with the score tied 55-55.
The Blue Devils took a three point lead in overtime, but the Stags responded with five straight points to lead 63-61 with under three minutes to play. A pair of free-throws by Hunter tied the game.
With under 15 seconds to play the Blue Devils had a chance for the game-winner, with the score tied 63-63. A shot by Vinales came up short as the shot clock expired, and the Stags had a fast-break with five seconds on the clock. The Blue Devils fouled, and Keith Matthews hit one of two free-throws to secure the 64-63 victory. The second free-throw was missed, but the Stags secured the rebound and ran out the clock.
Vinales had 18, Hunter added 16 points, five rebounds, two blocks and four steals. Efese finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds while shooting 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. Burbage added 12 points and four rebounds. McMillan had five points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Blue Devils are right back in action on Monday night on the road at St. Peter's beginning at 7 p.m. You can listen to the game beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Radio 1410 in Hartford, ESPN Radio 1300 in New Haven and online at iHeartRadio.com.