The Central Connecticut men's basketball team fell to Wagner, 70-60, on Thursday night at Detrick Gymnasium. The Blue Devils had three players in double-figures, but it was not enough against the Northeast Conference's top defensive team. The Seahawks outscored CCSU, 13-2, down the stretch in the first half to take a lead it would hold the rest of the way.
CCSU slips to 4-18 overall and 2-9 in the NEC with the loss, while Wagner improved to 10-11 overall and 6-5 in the NEC.
Wagner opened the game with eight straight points to build an 8-2 lead. Corey Henson's three-pointer at the 17:51 mark put the Seahawks up by six in the early going before the Blue Devils would take its first lead of the night.
Central would hold Wagner scoreless for 4:30 and outscore the Seahawks 10-0 to take the lead midway through the period. Freshman Tyson Batiste hit a layup at the 13:59 mark to open the run. Senior Khalen Cumberlander would hit a three-pointer just before the shot clock expired to put CCSU in front 17-12 at the 9:52 mark to cap the run.
The Seahawks would close the first half on a 13-4 run over the final 4:11 to build an eight-point lead at halftime. Henson had six points during the spurt, including four straight. His layup with 23 seconds left in the half made it 35-25. Sophomore Eric Bowles hit a pair of foul shots for CCSU with just under :07 left in the half to make it 35-27 at the intermission.
The Blue Devils shot 34.6 percent (9-of-26) from the field overall, including 2-of-5 (.400) from the arc. CCSU did hit 7-of-11 (.636) from the foul line and scored nine points off of seven Wagner turnovers. Batiste led Central with seven points in the opening half.
The Seahawks shot 48.3 (14-of-29) from the field in the first half, and was 2-of-8 (.250) from three-point range. Henson and Michael Carey led Wagner with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Central would have a run of seven unanswered points span both halves. The Blue Devils scored the first five points of the second half. A layup from senior Tidell Pierre was followed by a three-pointer from sophomore Austin Nehls to make it 35-32.
That would be as close as the Blue Devils could get the rest of the way. Wagner would push its lead to double-figures midway through the second half following five straight points. A three-pointer by Michael Carey would make it 48-38 with 11:58 remaining and CCSU would be unable to get closer than seven points down the stretch.
Nehls led CCSU with 17 points, while Cumberlander added 14 points and junior Mustafa Jones had 12 points and seven rebounds. Senior Tafari Whittingham grabbed nine boards to lead the team and matcha personal-best.
CCSU shot 20-of-53 (.377) from the floor and was 6-of-18 (.333) from the arc. The Blue Devils were just 14-of-28 (.500) from the foul line.
Care led Wagner with 19 points, while Henson added 13 points. The Seahawks shot 22-of-49 (.449) overall and 4-of-14 (.286) from three-point range. Wagner was 22-of-28 (.786) from the foul line.
The Blue Devils play their next three away from home, beginning with a contest on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Mount St. Mary's. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m.