The Central Connecticut men's basketball team can earn its 16th straight trip to the Northeast Conference Tournament with a win on the road at LIU Brooklyn tonight at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils are two games up on LIU in the standings for the final playoff spot.
The Blue Devils are trying to snap a two-game losing streak tonight at LIU Brooklyn. Tonight marks the second of three straight road games to end the regular season. Central is 4-9 on the road this season but has won two of their last three, including a win at Robert Morris and one at St. Francis Brooklyn.
Win and They're In, And Some Other Things...
Central is trying to qualify for its 16th straight Northeast Conference tournament, and can do so with a win tonight. A win over the Blackbirds gets the Blue Devils in as the #7 or #8 seed, depending on what others teams do tonight and Saturday. There are also several other ways the Blue Devils can make the tournament, including a loss to LIU, and a win over Sacred Heart, coupled with an LIU loss to Bryant on Saturday. However, if CCSU, FDU and LIU end up tied with 6-10 record, the Blue Devils would lose the tie-breaker and miss the tournament. The Blue Devils must finish at least 1-1 in their final two games to qualify for the tournament.
Series History - CCSU Leads 19-17
This is the 37th meeting between the two teams, the Blue Devils hold a 19-17 advantage in the series history and have won 12 of 21 and 15 of the last 26 overall meetings. The Blackbirds have won six straight meetings in the series, including the earlier meeting this year in Detrick Gym. Head coach Howie Dickenman is 15-13 all-time vs. the Blackbirds.
Last Time Out
Central trailed by as many as 21 in the second half, but climbed to within two before dropping a 68-65 decision on the road at Bryant on Saturday afternoon. Junior Kyle Vinales scored a team-high 18 points and added six assists as the Blue Devils lost their second straight. The Bulldogs built a 46-25 lead early in the second half. Central got as close as two twice, including 65-63, with 32 seconds left in the game. Following a Faronte Drakeford three, the Bulldogs hit one free-throw to push it to a 66-63 game and then called a timeout. On their next possession CCSU turned the ball over and were forced to foul the Bulldogs. Two free-throws made it 68-63 before a final basket from the Blue Devils cut the final score to 68-65.
Bench Scoring in the Last Five
Since the return and addition of junior Kyle Vinales the Blue Devil bench has been posting impressive numbers in the last five games for the Blue Devils. During those five games the CCSU bench has outscored the opponents' bench 170-47.
McMillan's Assists - 8th All-Time - Reaches 300
Junior Malcolm McMillan leads the team in assists with 92 through 27 games this season. He has 14 games with four or more assists, including 10 of the last 17 games. McMillan enters tonight's game with 315 career assists in 86 games played, an average of 3.7 assists per game in his career. His 315 assists put him eighth all-time in school history.
Vinales in Another Top-10
Junior Kyle Vinales cracked another career top-10 in program history last week. He now has 283 career assists, good for 10th place on the all-time list. He passed former Blue Devil Rick Mickens (266) two weeks ago.
An Elite Club
Junior Kyle Vinales has 1,462 career points, 283 assists and 101 career steals. Joining former Blue Devils Rick Mickens and Tristan Blackwood as the only players in school history to reach 1,400 points, 250 assists and 100 career steals.
Junior Kyle Vinales has one career 40+ point game, eight 30+ point games, 36 at 20 or more and 62 in double-figures. He has scored in double-figures in 47 of his last 52 games.
Vinales More Than a Scorer
With all of the scoring notes for junior Kyle Vinales it's easy to miss his assist numbers. Vinales now has 283 career assists in 76 career games. He has two or more assists in 44 of his last 48 games, and 66 (out of 76) career games with at least two. He also has 53 games with 3+ assists, 37 games at 4+ and 24 games at 5+ assists.
15 Straight NEC Tourneys
The Blue Devils have qualified for 15 straight Northeast Conference men's basketball tournaments. That is the longest active streak in the conference. Central did not qualify for the tournament in its first year of membership, but has qualified each year since.
Dickenman in Overtime
The Blue Devils played the 29th overtime game under head coach Howie Dickenman vs. Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 8, 2014, and won for the 20th time (91-86). In his 18 seasons Dickenman is 20-9 in overtime games.
Central Connecticut in the Northeast Conference
Central Connecticut has posted a 139-93 record (.606) in NEC regular season play over the last 12 seasons (19-1 in 2001-02, 12-6 in 02-03, 9-9 in 03-04, 8-10 in 04-05, 13-5 in 05-06, 16-2 in 06-07, 10-8 in 07-08, 8-10 in 08-09, 9-9 in 09-10, 11-7 in 2010-11, 10-8 in 2011-12, 9-9 in 2012-13, and 5-9 in 2013-14). They are 79-38 (.685) at home and 60-55 (.517) on the road during that stretch.
History - 1,067 Wins
This season marks the 77th season of Blue Devil basketball. Central's first year of competition was the 1934-35 season under coach Harrison J. Kaiser, whom the athletic building is named after. Central carries an overall record of 1,067 wins and 836 losses for a .559 winning percentage.
Central and the Three-Point Shot - 526 Straight
Entering today's game, the Blue Devils have hit a three-point shot in 526 consecutive games (a school record). The last time CCSU did not hit a three-point shot was February 29, 1996 at the University of Missouri-KC in a 76-69 loss.
WHAT'S LEFT ON THE NEC SCHEDULE
CCSU at LIU Brooklyn, 7 p.m.
RMU at FDU, 7 p.m.
SHU at Mount St. Mary's, 7 p.m.
SFU at Wagner, 7 p.m.
Bryant at SFBK, 7 p.m.
SFU at Mount St. Mary's, 2 p.m.
Bryant at LIU Brooklyn, 2 p.m.
CCSU at SHU, 3:30 p.m.
FDU at SFBK, 5 p.m.
RMU at Wagner, 6 p.m.