The Central Connecticut men's basketball team had four players score in double-figures on Tuesday night, but fell to Binghamton, 81-75, at Detrick Gymnasium. The Bearcats hit eight three-pointers in the second half to hold off the Blue Devils who were led by junior Khalen Cumberlander's 18 points.
The loss drops CCSU to 0-4 on the season, while Binghamton goes to 1-3.
The Blue Devils trailed 32-31 at halftime and fell behind by four points in the early going of the second half before a three-pointer by junior JJ Cratit and a layup by Cumberlander gave CCSU a 42-41 lead with 15:04 to play.
The Bearcats, who hit their first six three-point attempts of the second half as a team, responded with three straight three-pointers, including back-to-back trifectas from Dusan Perovic to retake the lead at 50-42. Binghamton pushed the lead out to 56-45 on another three from Perovic as part of a 15-3 spurt over a 2:35 span.
Freshman Austin Nehls accounted for eight straight Blue Devils points, including a three-pointer with 9:40 to play that opened a 9-0 CCSU run. The Blue Devils closed to within 63-62 with 6:06 to play after a Cratit jumper was bookended by a pair Cumberlander layups. Willie Rodriguez followed with two foul shots for Binghamton to push the lead back to three points. After Central closed to within one point twice more, Rodriguez responded with a layup both times to maintain the lead for the Bearcats.
Binghamton went 10-of-12 from the foul line in the final minute to push the lead out to 81-73 before a layup by Cumberlander just before the final whistle for the final margin.
The opening half featured seven ties and six lead changes as neither team led by more than five points. A three-pointer by Nehls and short jumper by sophomore Mustafa Jones put CCSU in front, 19-14. The Bearcats came back with six straight points to retake the lead. Central would benefit from an 11-1 advantage on the offensive glass and 8-0 edge in second-chance points to offset Binghamton's 56.0 percent shooting in the opening half. A pair of free throws from senior Brandon Peel with :31 to play in the half made it 32-31.
Cumberlander led Central in scoring and added four assists and a career-high four steals. Nehls would finish the night 5-of-7 from three-point range on his way to a career-high 17 points. Peel finished with his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Cratit added 11 points. Jones nearly added a double-double with nine points and a career-high nine rebounds as the Blue Devils finished with a 35-30 rebounding edge.
Rodriguez led Binghamton with 27 points to go with six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Marlon Beck II added 17 points and Perovice chipped in with 11. The Bearcats shot 52.8 percent for the game, including 55.6 percent from the arc.
The Blue Devils return to action on Sunday, Nov. 29, when they host Maine at 4:00 p.m. The game will follow the women's basketball game between CCSU and New Hampshire tipping off at 1:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at CCSUTickets.com or at the box office upon entry. Admission for all CCSU students, faculty and staff is free of charge with a valid Blue Chip card. For fans who cannot attend, all the action can be seen live, for free, on NECFrontRow.com.