Sophomore Kyle Vinales scored the final seven points of overtime for the Blue Devils as the Central Connecticut men's basketball team won its third straight game, 83-82, at UMBC on Tuesday night. Vinales led all scorers with 29 points on the night, including 18 in the second half and overtime. Central is 3-2 with the victory, and plays again on Saturday at Hartford at 4 p.m.
All five starters scored in double-figures for the second straight game. It hadn't happened in three seasons prior to Sunday at LaSalle. It's happened twice in two games for CCSU.
Vinales didn't shoot well from the floor, but hit two straight big buckets when the Blue Devils went down five in overtime. Junior Matt Hunter had a career-high 22 points and eight rebounds in the win. He also had four steals. He leads the team in both rebounding and steals this season.
Sophomore Adonis Burbage, senior Joe Efese and and sophomore Malcolm McMillan had 10 each. McMillan had four assists and did not have a turnover for the second straight game. Efese had a season-high four blocks and a career-high three steals. Central had 13 steals in the game.
A see-saw first half saw both teams lead by as many as five, but the Blue Devils held the halftime advantage 40-39. They held the halftime lead for the third straight game.
Central was up 16-11 but went cold from the field as the Retrievers went on a tear from three-point range. UMBC hit six of its first eight threes and Central was all of a sudden down 30-21.
Central cut it to 30-25 with 8:34 on the clock as Hunter had 10 early points. They were down just 38-34 with under four to play before the half.
UMBC went scoreless over the final 4:43 of the half, and the Blue Devils scored six straight to lead 40-39. They shot 48.6 percent from the field but only 2-of-10 from three. They held an impressive 22-10 edge in the paint, as they hit 16-of-27 shots from inside three.
With six straight points UMBC took a 55-51 lead with 13:30 on the clock. The run reached 10-2 and the lead was 59-53 for the home team.
The pace continued and UMBC built a 66-61 lead with under eight to play. The Blue Devils continued to shoot poorly from three, hitting just 2-of-18 in the first 32 minutes. Burbage's second three of the game made it 66-64, he scored seven of nine for Central as they cut the lead to two.
Hunter's 20th point cut it to 67-66 with 4:48 to play. Down 70-68, Vinales was fouled on a break-away, and an intentional foul was call. Vinales hit both free-throws to tie the game. After a UMBC free-throw, Vinales hit a three to give Central a 73-71 lead with under three to play in regulation.
Tied at 73-73, the Retrievers missed four shots on their end of the floor leading to a fast break and a Hunter bucket gave Central the lead. Two free-throws tied the game and the Blue Devils missed a shot at the buzzer as the game went to overtime.
UMBC took a five-point lead, 81-76, with 2:21 on the clock in overtime. A three from Vinales made it 81-79 with under 1:30 and following a UMBC turnover Vinales hit another jumper to tie the game at 81-81. UMBC hit one free-throw and Vinales was then fouled and hit a pair on his end to give Central the 83-82 lead.
The Blue Devils return to action on the road to face Hartford on Saturday at 4 p.m. Pregame on Fox Sports Radio 1410 and ESPN Radio 1300 starts at 3:30 p.m.