Freshman Evan Phoenix of Central Connecticut was named the Northeast Conference Men's Basketball Rookie of the Week it was announced Monday. The 6-9 forward was recognized after delivering a breakout game in CCSU's 83-79 win over UMass Lowell on Friday.
Phoenix powered the Blue Devils to the victory, exploding for a career-high 28 points and nine rebounds. He entered the contest having scored 15 points through his first seven games and having scored more than three points in a game just once when posted eight points at Rutgers. Phoenix was a dominant presence in the post against the River Hawks, however, shooting 11-of-19 from the field and 6-of-8 at the foul line.
Phoenix provided a lift for CCSU early in the second half when the Blue Devils were trailing by three points. He accounted for seven straight Blue Devil points before a JJ Cratit jumper put CCSU in front, 53-52. After UML cut it to a one possession game with six seconds left, Phoenix hit a pair of free throws to help ice the contest.
His 28 points were the most by a Blue Devil since Matt Mobley had 31 against Bryant on February 26, 2015 and the most points scored by a CCSU freshman since Kyle Vinales had 32 at Robert Morris on February 18, 2012. It also marked the high scoring game by an NEC freshman since the Mount's Shivaughn Wiggins had 28 vs. FDU on March 2, 2013.
The Blue Devils return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 23, with a 12:30 p.m. game at UConn. The contest will be broadcast from the XL Center by ESPNU.