The Central Connecticut men's basketball fell to Hartford, 92-83, in double-overtime in the teams' 2015-16 season-opener. The Blue Devils erased a 13-point deficit in the final 5:57 of regulation to force overtime before the Hawks scored the final eight points in the second overtime to close out the contest.
The loss drops CCSU to 0-1, while Hartford goes to 1-0.
The Hawks matched their largest lead of the night after a stream three-pointer by J.R. Lynch with 5:57 to play made it 64-51. Consecutive three-pointers by freshmen Jahlil Nails and Austin Nehls cut the CCSU deficit to seven points. Central closed the half on an 18-5 run, including scoring the final 10 points. A three-pointer by Nails with 11.1 seconds sent the game to the first overtime.
Two foul shots from junior Khalen Cumberlander and another from senior Brandon Peel tied the game at 76-76 in the first overtime period. The Blue Devils held Hartford scoreless over the final 2:16 and had the ball on the final possession, but Cumberlander's shot was just long.
In the second overtime, Hartford took a four-point lead after layups from Jalen Ross and Justin Graham to make it 84-80. Cumberlander hit two foul shots and Peel added another to cut the deficit to one, but that was as close as the Blue Devils could get as Hartford hit eight straight foul shots in the final 1:35 for the final margin.
The Blue Devils held a 31-30 lead at halftime after holding the Hawks without a field goal over the final 4:17 of the half. Junior Tidell Pierre hit a layup to make it 27-27. Three foul shots by Hartford were offset by baskets from Cumberlander and a jumper by Nails that gave Center the one-point lead at the break.
The Hawks opened the second half outscoring CCSU, 20-6, to take their largest lead after a layup by George Blagojevic with 12:29 to play.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Cumberlander cut the lead back to seven points. The Blue Devils would cut the deficit to four points after a three-pointer by Nehls made it 55-51 before the Hawks would respond with three straight threes to match their largest lead and set up the Central rally.
Cumberlander finished with a double-double, notching game-highs of 19 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds. He added a career-high eight assists. Peel added a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Nehls added 14 points and went 4-of-8 on three-pointers, while sophomore Mustafa Jones scored 13 points and Nails added 11.
The Blue Devils had a 51-43 edge on the glass.
Taylor Dyson led five Hawks in double-figures with 17 points, while Graham added 16 points. John Carroll added 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Blagojevic and Ross finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Central falls to 1-6 all-time in the Connecticut 6 Classic, while Hartford claimed its first win in the Classic to improve to 1-6.
The Blue Devils are back in action on Sunday with a 4:00 p.m. game at Penn.