The Central Connecticut men's basketball team opened Northeast Conference play with a 67-60 loss on the road at St. Francis (PA) on Thursday night. The loss is the fifth straight for the Blue Devils. They play again on the road on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Robert Morris.
With the loss the Blue Devils are now 4-8 overall and 0-1 in Northeast Conference play. St. Francis (PA) is now 1-11 overall and 1-0 in the league.
Junior Matt Hunter posted his second straight double-double, and third of the season, in the loss. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in the final minute.
The Red Flash scored the first points of the game before the Blue Devils rattled off seven straight to lead 7-2 early in the first half. Sophomore Kyle Vinales hit his first two three point attempts in the game.
Central led by as many as seven in the half, 18-11, with under nine minutes to play before the break. They managed just two field goals in the final 8:35 and the Red Flash went on a 16-9 run to end the period.
Neither team shot well in the first half and they went into the locker room tied at 27-27. Each squad was 9-of-27 from the field and hit four threes. Hunter led the way for the Blue Devils with 12 points, including four from the line.
The Red Flash scored the first six points of the second half to open a 33-27 lead. Including the three that ended the half for the Red Flash, the run was 9-0 over a span of 3:16. The lead reached 38-29 at 14:26 of the second half.
Hunter hit a three at 13:29 for the first field goal of the half for the Blue Devils. It cut the lead to 38-32. A quick 10-3 spurt for St. Francis (PA) gave them a 48-35 edge with under 10 minutes to play.
Down 57-44 the Blue Devils scored five straight to cut the lead to 57-49. Down 12, four straight points cut the lead to 61-53 with under two minutes to play. The lead was seven with 50.8 on the clock after a three point play from Vinales. It could get no closer than seven in the final minute.
Hunter's 18 and 10 led the Blue Devils, while Vinales added 23 points and three assists in the loss. Earl Brown led the Red Flash with 16 points and 25 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Central returns to action and completes the Western PA swing with a game at Robert Morris at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. The Colonials lost at home to Bryant on Thursday night.
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