Junior Deion Bute slammed home the game-winner with :03 remaining to lift the Central Connecticut men's basketball team past Fairleigh Dickinson, 66-65, on Thursday night at Detrick Gymnasium. Bute finished the night with a career-high 22 points in front of a frenzied crowd for the first home game of the spring semester. The Knights missed on a foul shot with just over one second remaining with a chance to tie or take the lead.
The Blue Devils improved to 10-10 on the season and 3-4 in Northeast Conference play. CCSU is now 6-1 at Detrick Gymnasium on the year. FDU slipped to 5-13 overall and 2-5 in league play.
Central is back in action on Saturday against LIU Brooklyn at 3:30 p.m.
CCSU would take its largest lead of the night with 5:48 to play following seven straight points. Bute would open the spurt with a pair of foul shots before junior Tyler Kohl ran off five straight of his own. His layup would make it 58-49.
Bute would hit a pair of foul shots with 1:50 to play to make it 62-57, but CCSU would miss then five straight from the line in to close the game. Bute, who would score the last eight points for Central, would make a layup with 1:08 to make it 64-59.
The Knights would come back with six straight points to take their first lead of the game with 10 seconds to play. Kaleb Bishop's two foul shots would put FDU in front, 65-64, setting up the Blue Devils' game-winning possession.
Central would set up the final play, with Kohl driving down the right side of the lane and attracting FDU defenders. He managed to slip a pass to Bute underneath who dunked it home for the go-ahead basket. The Knights would be fouled on the ensuing inbounds, but missed the front-end of a one-and-one. CCSU would collect the rebound to seal the win.
Bute finished the night 9-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 at the foul line. Senior Mustafa Jones chipped in 14 points and six rebounds off the bench, while Kohl finished with 11 points and four assists. Sophomore Tyson Batiste had a career-best seven assists, with no turnovers.
The Blue Devils took an early lead from the outset, making four of their first five shots. Kohl would score four unanswered for CCSU, including a three-pointer to make it 9-4 at the 16:49 mark that forced an FDU timeout.
Central would lead by as many as seven points in the opening period. A layup by Jones pushed the CCSU lead to 25-18 with 6:01 left in the half.
The Knights would regroup and manage to cut the Central lead to a single possession. A layup by Darnell Edge and two foul shots by Mike Holloway would cut the CCSU lead to 27-25.
CCSU would answer with a three-point play from junior Eric Bowles and another three-pointer from junior Austin Nehls would push the lead to 33-27. Mike Holloway hit a jumper with 0:49 left in the period to make it 33-29 at halftime.
Kohl and Bute would open the second half with back-to-back baskets to push the Central lead to 37-29 early in the period. The Knights would chip away at the deficit throughout the second half, but were never able to take a lead until the final 0:10.
Central shot 27-of-56 (.482) from the field, but was just 4-of-21 (.190) from the arc and 8-of-14 (.571) from the foul line. CCSU outrebounded FDU, 33-31, and had 17 assists against 13 turnovers. Senior Shakaris Laney had a career-high six rebounds to lead Central.
Kaleb Bishop led Fairleigh Dickinson with 18 points and eight rebounds. The Knights had four in double-figures and shot 25-of-60 (.417) from the field. FDU was just 3-of-17 (.176) from the arc, but went 12-of-13 (.923) at the foul stripe.
The Blue Devils host LIU Brooklyn on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 3:30 p.m. The CCSU women's basketball team will host St. Francis Brooklyn at 1:00 p.m.