The Central Connecticut men's basketball team went to double overtime on Thursday night to top St. Francis University 84-81 and record its third straight victory. Central led by as many as 10 in the game, and used clutch free-throw shooting for the second straight game to earn the victory.
With the win the Blue Devils move to 13-15 overall and 9-8 in Northeast Conference play. The Red Flash are 5-23 overall and 5-12 in the league with the loss.
Junior Matt Hunter finished with a game-high 23 points while adding a career-high nine assists and seven rebounds. He was 7-of-11 from the field and 7-of-7 from the line.
As a team the Blue Devils shot 15-of-16 from the line in the victory. None were bigger than three made free-throws from sophomore Malcolm McMillan with 12 seconds on the clock in the first overtime. Down three, McMillan was fouled taking a three-point shot. He calmly made all three free-throws and sent the game to a second overtime.
McMillan finished the game with seven points and five rebounds. Classmate Kyle Vinales had 19 points and four assists in the win. Senior Joe Efese had 16 points and seven rebounds. Efese now has double-figure points and six or more rebounds in five straight games for the first time in his career.
Sophomore Adonis Burbage finished with 11 points, including three threes.
The Red Flash hit a season-high 14 threes in the loss. They were 14-of-38 in the game.
Central assisted on 19 of its 31 baskets, led by nine from Hunter. He had only one turnover in the game. Central had 16 as a team.
St. Francis U had a season-high 14 threes in the loss, but was 0-for-7 in overtime and just 2-for-14 from the field in the extra frames. The Blue Devils shot 31-of-55 from the field and 7-of-15 from the three in the game. They shot 56.4 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from three.
The Blue Devils will be the seventh seed in next week's NEC Tournament, and will play on the road. Their opponent is to be determined, but will be either Wagner, LIU Brooklyn or Quinnipiac.
Central finishes the regular season at home on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. vs. Robert Morris. They will honor senior Joe Efese prior to tip. The game will air live on MSG and Fox College Sports. Fans can also watch the action live on www.NECFrontRow.com.