Men Win Second Straight, 81-74
All five starters scored in double-figures as the Central Connecticut men's basketball team won its second straight game, 81-74, on the road at LaSalle on Sunday afternoon. With the victory Central improves to 2-2 on the season. LaSalle is 1-1.
Sophomore Adonis Burbage scored a career-high 21 points and hit 7-of-8 from the field, 5-of-6 from three, while grabbing five rebounds for the Blue Devils. Classmate Kyle Vinales added 23 points and three assists and a steal in 40 minutes of action.
Central was impressive from the field for the second straight game, shooting 48.4 percent (30-of-62) and hitting 14-of-16 from the free-throw line. They had 12 assists and turned the ball over just seven times in the game. They had eight steals as a team, including three each from sophomore Malcolm McMillan and junior Matt Hunter.
Central trailed 7-6, but an 11-0 run gave them a 17-9 lead with 16:04 on the clock. The second three of the game from Burbage forced LaSalle to call its second early timeout of the game. The Blue Devils made their first seven field goals and led 20-9.
An 11-2 run over the next four minutes by the Explorers cut the lead to 22-20. Central went cold from the field and missed seven of its next eight shots. A quick run by the Blue Devils, including five straight from Hunter, pushed it back to 36-25 with under eight to play before the half.
The Blue Devils led 48-44 at the break, as the teams combined for a combined 64 shots from the field in the first half. Central shot 55.9 percent, hitting 19-of-34, including 5-of-11 from three. The Explorers shot 50 percent, 15-of-30, and were 7-of-15 from three including their final two of the first half. Vinales led all scorers with 16 at the break.
The quick pace continued in the second half, and LaSalle took a 62-61 lead with under 12 minutes to play. The Blue Devils turned the ball over just twice in the first half, but they had four in the first eight minutes of the second half as LaSalle took the lead.
The Blue Devils bounced back behind the shooting of Burbage, who drained his fifth three of the game and then another jumper to make it 70-64 with under eight to play. Following his jumper Burbage was 7-of-8 from the floor and was 5-of-6 from three.
The Explorers tied the game at 72-72 with under four minutes to play as both teams went cold from the field.
Tied at 72-72, the Blue Devils held LaSalle to only two points in the next 3:30 minutes, and outscored them 9-2 during that span. Hunter had a bucket, as well as a pair of free-throws and a jumper from McMillan to give Central the seven point lead with under 23 seconds to play.
Hunter finished the game with 15 points and eight rebounds. McMillan had 10 and eight boards to go along with six assists and three steals. Senior Joe Efese had 10 points and five rebounds and was one of four Blue Devils with at least five rebounds in the game.
Five players scored in double-figures for the Blue Devils for the first time December 30, 2009. It also marked the first time the Blue Devils have scored 80 or more points in back-to-back games since Dec. and Dec. 3 of last season (Bryant and Sacred Heart). They did it three straight games during that stretch.
The Blue Devils will continue their five-game road trip on Tuesday night at UMBC beginning at 7:30 p.m.