The Central Connecticut men's basketball team mounted a second half rally at Northern Illinois, but came up just short, falling 61-55 at the NIU Convocation Center. Junior Tyler Kohl led all scorers and three Blue Devils in double-figures with 20 points. The loss drops Central to 5-5 overall on the season.
The Blue Devils will be off until they go to Boston College on Dec. 17.
Kohl would grab a game-high nine rebounds as well, narrowly missing his second double-double of the season. Junior Deion Bute added 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting, along with seven rebounds and freshman Kashaun Hicks added a career-high 11 points and hit three three-pointers to help spark the Central rally.
The Blue Devils trailed throughout the day as Northern Illinois scored the first four points of the game and built a 11-4 lead after hitting five of its first nine shots. The lead would grow to 16-4 for the Huskies before the Blue Devils were able to get within four points.
NIU would end the Central run with six straight point and pushed the lead to as much as 35-20 late in the first half. Back-to-back layups by Bute in the final minute would make it 35-24 at the intermission.
Kohl opened the second half scoring Central's first nine points and the Huskies would go nearly four minutes without a basket. Kohl would convert a three-point play that opened an 11-0 run for the Blue Devils. Back-to-back threes by freshman Kashaun Hicks would make it 46-41 with 10:58 to play.
The Huskies would answer with a layup before Hicks hit his third trey to get Central within, 48-44 midway through the second half.
NIU would push the lead back to eight points before CCSU would manage to trim the deficit to a single possession. A followup by Hicks with 2:57 to play would make it 58-53 and a pair of foul shots by Kohl with 1:19 to go got the Blue Devils within three points.
Central had a possession to try and tie the game, but NIU forced a turnover with 32 seconds to play. The Huskies would hit 3-of-4 from the foul line to close the game and settle the final margin.
CCSU shot 39.6 percent from the field (21-of-53) and 29.4 percent (5-of-17) from the arc. The Blue Devils were 8-of-11 (.727) at the foul line and outrebounded NIU, 37-28.
Eugene German led NIU with 19 points. The Huskies shot 42.6 percent (20-of-47) overall and 7-of-19 (.368) from three-point range. NIU was 14-of-23 (.609) at the foul line.
Central returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 17, at Boston College.