Central Connecticut had extended scoring runs on either side of halftime, but a late run by Rutgers was the difference in men's basketball action on Sunday afternoon as RU held on for a 71-67 win at the RAC. CCSU shot nearly 50 percent for the game, while holding the Scarlet Knights to 35 percent shooting to keep the game close.
Junior Tyler Kohl scored 22 points with eight rebounds, while senior Mustafa Jones had 14 points and six boards for the Blue Devils. Junior Eric Bowles finished with six points, six assists and five rebounds.
CCSU slips to 0-2 with the loss, while RU is now 2-0.
Central travels to St. John's on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. game. The game will be carried on FS2.
After Rutgers opened the game's scoring, the Blue Devils came back with a 10-0 run holding the Scarlet Knights scoreless for 5:45. Junior Deion Bute had a pair of dunks during the spurt and put Central ahead, 10-2, at the 14:30 mark.
RU would gain its footing after Mike Williams hit back-to-back three-pointers to end the Central run. The Knights would score six unanswered late in the half and took a 26-23 lead on Eugene Omoruyi's layup. Rutgers would eventually take its largest lead of the opening period at 30-26.
Senior Shakaris Laney hit a three-pointer with just over a minute to go in the period and made it 30-29 at halftime. The Blue Devils shot 52.0 percent (13-of-25) in the first half.
The Scarlet Knights would come out in the second half and scored six straight to build a 44-36 lead following a layup by Corey Sanders.
Sophomore Tyson Batiste would end the RU run and hit a three-pointer to make it 44-39. The bucket prompted a Rutgers timeout, but also sparked a 10-0 run for Central.
Sophomore Joe Hugley would have four points in the spurt and his foul shots capped the run to put CCSU ahead, 46-44.
Rutgers would respond with a Williams three-pointer to open a 12-0 run that gave the Scarlet Knights the lead for good. Williams had five points in the run and an Issa Thiam trey closed the run to make it 56-46.
RU would stretch the lead to as much as 65-50, but the Blue Devils would threaten with a late run. A layup by Bute and a three by junior Tyler Kohl opened an 11-0 run the got Central within, 65-61, but the Scarlet Knights would hit four foul shots down the stretch to hold on despite a long-range trey by Kohl at the buzzer for the final margin.
Central shot 48.1 percent (26-of-54) for the game and was 7-of-17 (.412) from the arc, but committed 20 turnovers, which led to 23 RU points.
Williams scored a game-high 23 points to lead three Rutgers players in double-figures. RU shot 35.4 percent (23-of-65) for the game and was 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from the arc.
The Blue Devils return to action at St. John's on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. game. The game will be carried on FS2.