The Central Connecticut men's basketball team dropped to 0-2 on the season with a 64-61 loss on the road at St. Peter's University on Monday night. The loss is the second straight to a MAAC team after losing the opener to Fairfield. Kyle Vinales led the offense with 24 points, but a late three-point attempt came up short for the sophomore.
The two teams will play again on December 29 in New Britain.
Central led by as many as 11 points in the game, but a mid-half run gave the Peacocks their second win to open the season. They are now 2-0.
Trailing 11-6, the Blue Devils rattled off eight straight points to take a 14-11. The run lasted just over minute and saw a couple of forced turnovers by the Blue Devil defense. A pair of buckets by Vinales fueled the run.
The Blue Devils missed their first nine three-pointers before Vinales hit one 3:11 before the half to give the Blue Devils a 25-17 lead. His second straight made it 28-17 and a jumper from junior Terrell Allen made it 30-19 with just over a minute to play.
Central led 32-24 at the half, after forcing 14 turnovers and scoring 14 points off of those turnovers before the break. They hit 14-of-30 from the field, including eight of their last 13 shots from the field. Vinales led all scorers with 12 while junior Matt Hunter added eight.
St. Peter's cut the lead to 34-31 to open the second half, but a bucket from freshman Brandon Peel, one free-throw from Vinales on a technical foul, and then the three-point play from Peel made it 38-31. Sophomore Malcolm McMillan hit his first three of the season to make it 45-35 and force a St. Peter's timeout.
The Peacocks took the lead with an 11-0 run that included a technical foul against the Blue Devils. It was 48-47 with 8:00 on the clock. Central went more than four minutes without a basket before a three from Allen gave them back the lead 50-48.
With the score tied at 50-50, a pair of free-throws made it 52-50 with 5:59 on the clock. Tied at 53-53, a Blue Devil turnover led to a fast-break bucket by the Peacocks and the lead was two with 3:43 left. A pair of free-throws from senior Joe Efese tied the game.
Four straight points, including a three from Desi Washington wiht the shot clock expiring, made it 60-56. Two free-throws from Vinales cut it to 60-58 with 52 seconds to play.
St. Peter's scored with 27.3 seconds to play to push the lead to four, and following a Blue Devil miss a free-throw made it 63-58. A Vinales three-point play cut the lead to 63-61 with 8.8 to play. A Peacock free-throw mae it 64-61, and a last second three by Vinales was off the mark.
Vinales led all scorers with 24. Allen added 11, just two off his career-high. Junior Matt Hunter had nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. Peel added six points and six boards, including four on the offensive end. The Blue Devils forced 19 turnovers and had seven steals.
Central will return to action on Thursday night at home vs. Brown beginning at 7:30 p.m. Fans can watch and listen to the action live on NECFrontRow.com, or on the radio on Fox Sports Radio 1410 in Hartford and ESPN Radio 1300 in New Haven.