The Central Connecticut men's basketball team dropped its Northeast Conference opener at Bryant, 88-72, on Saturday. The Blue Devils fall to 1-11 overall and 0-1 in the NEC with the loss, while Bryant goes to 4-10 (1-0 NEC).
Junior Khalen Cumberlander led three CCSU players in double-figures with 17 points. Senior Brandon Peel posted his fifth double-double of the year with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while freshman Jahlil Nails added a career-high 12 points on four three-pointers.
A layup by Peel with 18:21 to play got CCSU within 45-35, but the Bulldogs responded with seven straight points to push the game out of reach. Following a layup by freshman Austin Nehls with 4:32 to go to make it 80-63, the Bulldogs used an 8-1 spurt to take their largest lead of the day. Central would score the final eight points of the contest, including a three-point play by Peel for the final margin.
Bryant built a double-digit lead heading into halftime and the Blue Devils could not get closer than 45-35 in the second half. Central was within 23-21 in the first half following two foul shots by freshman Evan Phoenix. Marcell Pettway scored six straight to help Bryant outscore the Blue Devils, 20-11 over the final eight minutes. The Bulldogs would take a 43-32 lead into halftime.
Pettway led Bryant's five double-figure scorers with 26 points. Dan Garvin added a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bulldogs shot 53.5 percent from the field overall and were 5-of-11 from three-point range. The Blue Devils shot 43.5 percent overall and were 7-of-21 from the arc. CCSU outrebounded Bryant, 39-32.
The Blue Devils host LIU Brooklyn on Monday, Jan. 4, at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on MSG Network and Fox College Sports. The game is part of a doubleheader with the women's basketball game tipping off at 2:00 p.m. A single ticket gains admission to both contests.
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.