Central Connecticut held off a second half rally by Bryant to win, 80-74 on Thursday night in Northeast Conference men's basketball action. Junior Tyler Kohl led four Blue Devils in double-figures with 27 points. CCSU won its fourth straight to go to 12-10 overall and 5-4 in the NEC.
Bryant slips to 2-20 overall and 1-8 in the league.
Kohl finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Kohl has scored 20 or more in four of the last five games. Senior Mustafa Jones added 18 points and seven boards, while junior Austin Nehls had 18 points. Junior Deion Bute had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
The Blue Devils are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 27, when they travel to LIU Brooklyn for a 4:30 p.m. tipoff.
After the Bulldogs opened the scoring, senior Mustafa Jones hit back-to-back jumpers to give the Blue Devils a 4-2 lead. Bryant would tie the game at 4-4, but Central would take the lead from then on. Junior Tyler Kohl accounted for nine straight Central points midway through the period as the Blue Devils would go up by double-figures.
CCSU would limit Bryant to one field goal over the final 6:56 to go into halftime with a 15-point lead. After a layup by Monty Urmilevicius got Bryant within 29-20. Jones would make a layup and junior Deion Bute would get a dunk to push the lead to 33-20. After a pair of Bulldogs free throws, junior Austin Nehls hit a three-pointer and Kohl hit a jumper to give CCSU a 38-22 lead.
A trifecta by Bosko Kostur with 1:01 to play would end the Bryant field goal drought, but a layup by Jones with 26 seconds left in the period made it 40-25 at halftime.
The Bulldogs would cut the deficit to single digits midway through the second half. A three-pointer by Ikenna Ndugba opened a spurt that Bryant outscored Central, 14-2, in a span of 3:52. Tanner Johnson's three-pointer with 9:22 to play would cut the CCSU lead to 55-49.
The Blue Devils would respond with jumpers from Kohl and Jones to stem the tide, but Bryant would hang around thanks to 11 three-pointers in the second half. Nehls would hit a trifecta with 4:47 to play that made it 72-60, but that would be CCSU's last field goal.
The Bulldogs would manage to get within, 74-71, after a Tanner Johnson three from just inside halfcourt with 1:04 remaining. The Blue Devils would hit 6-of-6 at the line in the final 33 seconds to hold off the late Bryant rally.
Central shot 29-of-61 (.475) from the field and was 8-of-26 (.308) from the arc. The Blue Devils held a 38-34 rebounding margin and had 17 assists against 12 turnovers. Bute would match a personal-high with three blocked shots.
Ndugba and Kostur each finished with 22 points. Monty Urmilevicius had 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 25-of-61 (.410) overall and 13-of-32 (.406) from the arc.
Central travels to LIU Brooklyn on Saturday for a 4:30 p.m. game.