The Central Connecticut men's basketball team erased a double-digit deficit in the second half to rally past Brown, 68-62, on Saturday at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The win extended CCSU's win streak to five games as it improved to 5-3 on the season. Junior Austin Nehls scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Blue Devils.
Central is back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at DePaul.
Nehls finished 7-of-11 from the field, 4-of-8 from the arc, and grabbed seven rebounds. Junior Eric Bowles chipped in a career-high 14 points, 12 in the second half, to go with six assists and junior Deion Bute had 12 points and eight rebounds.
The five-game win streak for the Blue Devils is its longest since winning five straight from Nov. 19-Dec. 3, 2011.
Brown led 31-27 aft halftime and would push the lead to double-digits early in the second half with an 14-0 run. Zach Hunsaker hit three foul shots to start the run, before Cambridge hit consecutive treys and Hunsaker hit another to push the lead to 45-30.
After another trey by Hunsaker made it 50-39 with 13:09 remaining the Blue Devils would mount their comeback. The Central defense would hold to Bears without a field goal, and just four free throws, over the next 6:39 to lead the rally.
A three-pointer by Nehls with 12:43 to play began a run of nine unanswered points. Nehls would score five in a row, followed by consecutive buckets from junior Deion Bute to make it 50-48.
The Blue Devils would eventually tie the game at 54-all after a layup by Bute and a foul shot from senior Shakaris Laney with 7:14 to go.
A layup by Obi Okolie with 6:26 to play would end Brown's field goal drought, but CCSU would respond with five straight points to take its first lead of the second half. A jumper by Nehls with 4:15 to go made it 59-58.
After a Bears layup with 4:00 remaining, CCSU would close the game by outscoring Brown, 9-2, to complete the comeback. Junior Tyler Kohl hit two foul shots with 25 seconds left to close the scoring, 68-62.
Brown would hold a slim lead for much of the opening half after builing an 8-3 lead to open the game. Desmond Cambridge, who hit three early trifectas, would open the game with a trey and then give Brown the six-point lead with another at the 16:19 mark.
The Blue Devils would hold the Bears to one field goal in a 5:39 span to take its first lead of the period. A layup by sophomore Joe Hugley tied the game at 15-15, before a foul shot from senior Mustafa Jones put CCSU ahead with 7:04 left in the half.
Central would take its largest lead of the period after a Jones dunk and a three-pointer from Kohl made it 23-19.
The Bears would respond with 10 straight points to regain the lead it would maintain into the intermission. Brandon Anderson opened the spurt with a three-pointer and closed the run with a jumper to make it 29-23 with 1:58 left in the half.
A layup by Jones would snap the string and the teams alternated baskets into the break. Nehls hit a transition layup to make it 31-27 at halftime.
Central finished the game shooting 25-of-55 (.455) from the field and 7-of-18 (.389) from the arc. The Blue Devils outrebounded the Bears, 44-23, and held a 32-16 edge in points in the paint.
Brown was led by Cambridge with 17 points. The Bears shot 20-of-54 (.370) from the floor and 9-of-28 (.321) from the arc. The Bears converted 17 CCSU turnovers in 18 points.
The Blue Devils travel to DePaul on Wednesday, Dec. 6.