The Central Connecticut men's basketball team dropped its home Northeast Conference opener on Monday night, falling 76-67, in Detrick Gym to LIU Brooklyn. With the loss the Blue Devils are now 1-12 overall and 0-2 in NEC play. LIU improves to 7-6 overall and 1-1 in the league with the victory.
The Blue Devils were led by sophomore Mustafa Jones who had a team-high 15 points, including 10 in the first half. Freshman Austin Nehls added 14 points in the loss, including nine in the first half, all on threes.
The Blue Devils are back in action on Thursday night on the road at Mount St. Mary's at 7 p.m.
LIU led 37-29 at the break and by as many as 17 with under five minutes to play in the half. The Blue Devils cut into a 33-16 lead with a 13-4 run to end the half.
Central shot only 9-of-23 from the field in the first half, but Nehls made three threes and led the way with nine points. He was 3-of-4 from the and the Blue Devils were 8-of-10 from the line before the break. The Blue Devils, however, turned the ball over 11 times and that led to 17 points for the Blackbirds. Jones had 10 points before halftime and made 4-of-8 from the field in 12 minutes of play.
The Blue Devils opened the second half and cut the Blackbird lead to five, 45-40, but a 13-3 run by LIU pushed the lead back to 58-43 with under nine minutes to play in the game.
The Blue Devils had one more run, and cut the lead to nine, but LIU responded with six straight and built it back to 65-50 with under five minutes to play. The Blue Devils would climb within seven, 74-67, but no closer as the Blackbirds notched their first league win of the season.
CCSU was led by Jones who had 15 points, Nehls added 14, including four threes, and seven rebounds. Junior Khalen Cumberlander added 13 points and five assists in the loss.
The Blackbirds had four players in double-figures, led by Jerome Frink who had a game-high 19 points. Martin Hermannsson added 17 points and six assists in the win for the Blackbirds.
The Blue Devils will be back in action again on Thursday night on the road at Mount St. Mary's for a 7 p.m. tip.