The Central Connecticut men's basketball team returns from a break for final exams to take on Boston College, Sunday afternoon at Conte Forum. The Blue Devils are coming off a non-conference loss at Northern Illinois, while BC has won three straight, including a win over then-No. 1 Duke on Dec. 9.
CCSU begins its final stretch of non-conference games and is just one win from matching its win total from all of 2016-17. Central opens Northeast Conference play on Dec. 29 at home against the preseason favorite, Saint Francis U.
GAMEDAY INFORMATION | Conte Forum (Chestnut Hill, MA)
TODAY'S GAME • Central Connecticut returns to action on Sunday at Boston College following a week-long break during final exams. The contest tips off the final week of non-conference play for CCSU as the Blue Devls play three games before Christmas.
LAST TIME OUT • CCSU 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. 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. A pair of foul shots by junior Tyler Kohl would open an 8-0 run by Central. A layup by junior Deion Bute would get CCSU within, 16-12 with 8:39 to go in the period. 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.
SERIES NOTES • Central Connecticut and Boston College are meeting for the fifth time. BC has hosted all four previous meetings and won the most recent matchup, 82-57 on Nov. 19, 2015.
BLUE DEVILS AWARD WINNERS • Central has had a pair of student-athletes named Northeast Conference Player of the Week thus far. Tyler Kohl earned the award on Nov. 27 after averaging 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in two CCSU wins. Deion Bute was named the NEC Player of the Week on Nov. 20 after averaging 15.0 pts, 10.0 reb and 1.5 blocks in two games. The pair became the first Blue Devils named NEC Player of the Week since De'Angelo Speech on Feb. 17, 2014.
CCSU FORTUNES TURN AT THE LINE • The Blue Devils are shooting .665 from the foul line on the year, but have shown improvement at the free throw line in the past three games. In the first seven games of the year, CCSU didn't shoot better than .692 from the foul line as a team in any game. In the last three games, Central has shot a combined 24-of-31 (.774). Central was perfect from the line (5-of-5) at DePaul, marking the first time the Blue Devils did not miss a foul shot in a game since going 18-of-18 at LIU Brooklyn on Feb. 27, 2014. Junior Tyler Kohl has gone 11-for-11 from the foul line in the past three games.
UP NEXT • Central hosts Maine on Dec. 20 and goes to UMass Lowell on Dec. 23 before opening Northeast Conference play on Dec. 29 against the NEC preseason favorite Saint Francis U.