The Central Connecticut men's basketball team dropped to 7-11 overall on the season and 3-4 in Northeast Conference play with an 85-78 loss on the road at Quinnipiac on Thursday night. The loss is the second straight for the Blue Devils. With the victory Quinnipiac moves to 7-12 overall and 3-4 in the NEC.
Sophomore Kyle Vinales led the way with 32 points, including 19 in the first half. Junior Matt Hunter added 13 while sophomore Malcolm McMillan and senior Joe Efese each added 10. Sophomore Terrell Allen had eight points and nine rebounds in the loss.
Central trailed 17-11 but used a quick 18-11 run to climb ahead 29-28 with 6:30 to play before halftime. The Bobcats pushed the lead back to 37-32 before the Blue Devils scored eight of the final 11 points before the break.
Central trailed 40-39 at the half behind 19 from Vinales. They were 13-of-27 from the field and 5-of-8 from three before the break. McMillan hit a pair of threes in the half on two attempts. That pushed his three-point made streak to 8-of-9 dating back to last game.
The Bobcats held a 22-13 edge on the boards before the break, limiting the Blue Devils to just one offensive rebound.
Central took a 55-54 lead with 13:08 to play in the second half. A 9-2 run by the Bobcats made it 63-57, but a jumper from McMillan cut it to 63-59 just a minute later. Quinnipiac stretched the lead to 70-61 in the next two minutes, converting on three baskets underneath as the Blue Devils missed four straight from the field.
Five straight from the Blue Devils made it 70-66 with 6:23 to play. Quinnipiac led by three with under two minutes to play, and turned an offensive rebound into a three-point basket to push the lead to 77-71 with 1:45 on the clock. Central missed a three on the other end and then the Bobcats used three timeouts in a 14 second span before getting a layup on the inbound pass to push the lead to eight.
The 30 point outing for Vinales was his fourth of the season and the sixth of his career. It pushed his career total to 924 points in 47 career games.
The Blue Devils return to action at home on Saturday hosting St. Francis (NY) beginning at 3:30 p.m. The game will air live on NECFrontRow.com.