The Central Connecticut men's basketball team defeated Alvernia University, 78-71, on Friday night in an exhibition game at Detrick Gymnasium. The Blue Devils had five players score in double-figures and never trailed in the contest. The game was a final tune-up before CCSU's regular-season opener against Hartford on Friday, November 11, at home.
Senior Khalen Cumberlander led CCSU with 17 points, while senior Tidell Pierre added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Mustafa Jones added 14 points, senior Tafari Whittingham had 11 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Austin Nehls chipped in with 10 points.
The Blue Devils scored on their opening possession on a jumper by Pierre and never trailed throughout, although the Crusaders were able to draw even on three occasions.
The game was tied at 16-16 with 9:49 in the opening half, before CCSU scored six straight points as part of a 14-2 run over a six-minute span. A layup by junior Kevin Seymour with 3:13 to play in the half gave Central its largest lead of the period at 30-18.
The Crusaders trimmed the deficit to 31-24 at halftime, but a three-pointer by Nehls out of the intermission pushed CCSU's lead back to double-digits.
Central took its largest lead of the night at 47-30 on a three-pointer by Cumberlander with 16:04 to play. The basket capped an 11-2 run that expanded the Blue Devils' lead.
CCSU led, 72-57, with 4:03 to play after a layup by Jones before Alvernia would chip away at the lead. The Crusaders held Central without a field goal over the final four minutes and managed to close within, 74-71, with 0:32 remaining after a three-pointer from Reid Hoff.
The Blue Devils would not allow another basket and got two foul shots apiece from Pierre and Whittingham down the stretch to close it out.
Central shot 54.2 percent from the field, while limiting Alvernia to 41.2 percent. The Blue Devils held a decisive 50-14 scoring margin in the paint and outrebounded the Crusaders, 40-22.
George Williams led four in double-figures for Alvernia with 21 points.
Central opens the 2016-17 regular-season on Friday, Nov. 11, against Hartford at 7:00 p.m. in Detrick Gymnasium.
Tickets are available at CCSUTickets.com.