The Central Connecticut men's basketball team saw its three-game winning streak come to an end with an 80-77 oss on the road at the University of Hartford on Saturday afternoon. With the loss Central is now 3-3 overall on the season. Hartford improves to 2-3.
Sophomore Kyle Vinales led all scorers with 32 points, his third career game with 30 or more, and his fifth straight with at least 20. Junior Matt Hunter added 22 points and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds in the loss.
The Blue Devils led by six early, but the Hawks rebounded to take a 15-11 lead with 11:22 on the clock. Neither team led by more than six in the half.
Central struggled from the field in the first half, but led 38-37 after Vinales finished out the half scoring 11 of the final 15 points. After starting just 9-of-26 from the field, the Blue Devils hit seven of their last 10 shots before the break for the one point lead.
Vinales led all scorers at the break with 15, he was 6-of-11 from the field. Hunter added nine points, six rebounds and three steals in the half. Sophomore Malcolm McMillan had five to go along with three boards. The Blue Devils held a 20-12 advantage on the glass, including an 8-0 edge in offensive rebounds. They turned the ball over only four times and forced 10 by the Hawks.
Hartford shot 61 percent from the field, while the Blue Devils hit on 44.4 percent of their shots.
In the second half Central built a six point lead, 57-51, with 12:07 to play. Vinales scored seven of nine points during the mini-run for the Blue Devils. A three from the Hawks cut the lead to 57-54.
The Blue Devils led by two, 60-58, but a Hawk run reached 8-0 as they took a 64-60 lead with just over five minutes to play. An offense rebound and put-back from junior Terrell Allen stopped the run and made it 64-62, but back-to-back threes from the Hawks made it 70-62. Six free-throws from Hunter cut the lead to 70-68 with 2:37 to play.
The lead reached five, 70-65, for the Hawks with under a minute to play, and Central could get no closer than two the rest of the way.
Vinales had 32, a season-high and the third time in his career he has scored at least 32 in a game. Hunter's 22 and 12 went along with three steals.
The Blue Devils are off until next Wednesday night, Dec. 5 when they play on the road at New Hampshire.