The Central Connecticut men's basketball team tried to rally in the second half, but fell to Saint Francis U, 91-82, on Saturday at DeGol Arena. The Blue Devils trimmed a 19-point deficit to just six points in the second half, but the Red Flash would hold on for the win.
Freshman Jahlil Nails matched a career-high with 18 points to lead five Blue Devils in double-figures. Senior Brandon Peel posted his fifth straight double-double and surpassed 800 career rebounds with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Peel also had six blocked shots. Junior Khalen Cumberlander added 14 points and sophomore Mustafa Jones had 13 points. Freshman Austin Nehls finished with 10 points.
CCSU used a 12-1 run midway through the second half to get within 65-59. Jones opened the run and had seven points during the spurt that was capped off with a layup by Nails with 8:14 to play.
The Red Flash would respond with eight straight points, capped off by a Greg Brown dunk to push the lead back up to 73-59. The Blue Devils would make one last push to get within seven points. Nehls hit a four-point play and a jumper from sophomore Kevin Seymour and a three-pointer by Nails would make it 85-78 with just over a minute to play, but CCSU could get no closer.
Josh Nebo scored the first four points of the game to put Saint Francis in front. A three-pointer by sophomore Kevin Seymour got CCSU on the board, but the Red Flash would score seven unanswered to go ahead 11-3.
The Red Flash lead would by as many as 17 points in the opening period after shooting 51.5 percent (17-of-33) from the field. Ben Millaud-Meunier led SFU with 18 points, hitting five three-pointers, and the home team built a 48-32 lead at the intermission.
The Blue Devils shot a scorching 64.5 percent (20-of-31) from the floor in the second half to finish the game at 50.8 percent. Central was 9-of-18 (.500) from three-point range.
Ronnie Drinnon led SFU with 23 points, 20 rebounds and five assists with just one turnover. Millaud-Meunier finished with a game-high 27 points to pace four Red Flash in double-figures.
SFU finished the game shooting 49.2 percent (32-65) from the field and hit 10 three-pointers. The Red Flash held a 38-32 rebounding edge and got 25 second chance points.
Central is back in action on Thursday, Feb. 11, with a 7:00 p.m. game at St. Francis Brooklyn.