The Central Connecticut men's basketball fell to Rutgers, 75-59, at The RAC on Tuesday night. The Blue Devils were within one point early in the second half before the Scarlet Knights managed to push their lead to double digits. Senior Brandon Peel finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds to go with six assists.
The loss drops Central to 0-8, while Rutgers goes to 4-5.
The Blue Devils outscored Rutgers, 7-2, early in the second half on a three-pointer by junior Khalen Cumberlander and four points from Peel. A short jumper by Peel got Central within 35-34 with 15:11 to play.
The Scarlet Knights outscored Central 18-4 midway through the second half to build a lead it would not relinquish. Nine unanswered points would push the lead to double-digits after Jonathan Laurent had five points in the spurt and Mike Williams closed the run out with a foul shot to make it 47-36 with 10:47 to play.
Rutgers scored six unanswered points over a span of 2:23 to close it out and pushed the lead to 53-38. Cumberlander hit a three-pointer to snap the Rutgers spurtwith 7:55 remaining. RU would lead by as much as 75-54 before a three-pointer by Cumberlander and a layup by sophomore Kevin Seymour closed out the scoring for the final margin.
Central broke an early 4-4 tie with a three-pointer from freshman Austin Nehls and a layup by freshman Evan Phoenix to take a 9-4 lead at the 14:19 mark. The Scarlet Knights would score six straight to take a 10-9 lead on a layup by Bishop Daniels.
Rutgers would push the lead to as much as 22-17 with 5:32 left in the half before the Blue Devils came back with six straight and took a 23-22 lead following a layup from Phoenix with 3:38 left in the period.
Both teams dug in defensively to close the half as Central hit just 1-of-7 over the final 4:28, while Rutgers hit just 2-of-8 at the end of the half. The Scarlet Knights would take a 28-25 lead at halftime after Corey Sanders hit a layup with 1.5 seconds left in the period.
Peel finished with his fourth double-double of the season and 16th of his career. Nehls hit four three-pointers to finish with 12 points and Cumberlander added 11 points.
Corey Sanders led four Rutgers players with 18 points. Daniels added 17 points, six assists and six rebounds. D.J. Foreman added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Blue Devils will have a break until their next game when they host UMass Lowell on Friday, Dec. 18, at 7:00 p.m.