Hunter Scores 40, Blue Devils Fall at #1 Indiana
Junior Matt Hunter poured in a career-high 40 points but the Central Connecticut men's basketball team dropped a 100-69 decision on the road at #1/#1 Indiana on Saturday night. The Hoosiers, ranked first in both major polls, improve to 9-0 on the season. Central evens its record to 4-4 with the loss.
Hunter had a strong night for Central, scoring 26 second half points on his way to a new career-high. Hunter's 40 tie an Assembly Hall record for an opponent, and are just one off the CCSU Division I record for points in a game.
Hunter was 13-of-25 from the field, and 6-of-11 from three, and hit 8-of-8 from the line on his way to the impressive night. It marked the first time a Blue Devil scored 40 or more in a single game since Tristan Blackwood did it vs. Robert Morris during the 2007 season. He matched the Assembly Hall record set by Shawn Respert (1995) and Terry Furlow (1976), both of Michigan State.
Central will return to action on Friday night, Dec. 21 hosting Northeastern at home at 8 p.m. The game is part of a doubleheader as the women's team will host Rider at 6 p.m.
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Indiana led 9-8 at first media timeout but a 28-8 run by the Hoosiers gave them a 37-16 lead with 8:30 to play. Indiana made 18 of its first 24 shots from the field to start the game and built the lead to 26 with just over five to play in the first half.
The Hoosiers led 53-34 at halftime and shot a blistering 63 percent from the field in the first half. The lead was as much as 26 before Central scored 16 points in the final five minutes of the half to chip into the lead.
Hunter led all Blue Devils with 14 first half points. Central shot just 12-of-35 (34 percent) from the field before the break, and made 4-of-14 from three. They were outrebounded 24-13. Freshman Brandon Peel had five before the break.
Central scored the first bucket of the second half, but the Hoosiers opened the lead to 24 with seven straight in the next two minutes.
Hunter's second three of the half cut the lead to 66-44. Central was down to 18, 68-50, on a pair of free-throws from Hunter and a jumper from sophomore Kyle Vinales.
Indiana opened up a 79-53 lead with 7:55 left to play on the heels of strong shooting and rebounding. The lead reached 30 for the first time with five minutes to play.
Central was led by Hunter's 40 and seven rebounds. Peel added seven rebounds and senior Joe Efese had eight points and three boards. Vinales ended the game with seven points, snapping his 20 point streak at six games, and his double-figure streak at 13. He was the nation's leading scorer entering the game.
Freshman Andrew Hurd scored his first career points with a pair of free-throws in the second half. He played a career-high eight minutes in the loss.
Indiana was led by All-American Cody Zeller who had 19 points and 19 rebounds. Christian Watford had 21 points to lead all Hoosier scorers.
The Blue Devils are off until Friday night, Dec. 21 at home vs. Northeastern at 8 p.m.