Men's Basketball Holds Off Bryant, 80-76

Men's Basketball Holds Off Bryant, 80-76

The Central Connecticut men's basketball team downed Bryant, 80-76, on Saturday at Detrick Gymnasium in Northeast Conference action. The Blue Devils blocked a season-high eight shots and got a double-double from junior Tyler Kohl. The win snapped a four-game slide and improved CCSU to 9-10 overall and 2-4 in NEC play. The Bulldogs fall to 2-17 overall and 1-5 in league play.

Central is back in action on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7:00 p.m. against Fairleigh Dickinson at home. 

Kohl led four Blue Devils in double-figures with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Austin Nehls added 14 points, while junior Deion Bute and senior Mustafa Jones had 10 points apiece. Sophomore Tyson Batiste added nine points, five rebounds and three assists.

The Blue Devils built a double-digit lead in the first half after holding Bryant without a field goal for nearly six minutes. Jones would hit a layup at the 12:05 mark to give CCSU a 12-10 lead. Kohlnd sophomore Tyson Batiste hit consecutive three-pointers as Central scored eight straight to build an 18-10 lead.

The Bulldogs would hit a pair of foul shots before Batiste and Jones hit back-to-back layups to stretch the Central lead to 22-12. A three-pointer by Ikenna Ndugba with 6:51 in the half to end a field goal drought of 5:44. 

Ndugba's trey would be part of a 6-0 run as Bryant scratched back into the game. The Bulldogs would eventually take a 33-32 lead with 1:40 to go in the half after an Adam Grant three-pointer.

CCSU took a 34-33 lead at halftime after a jumper by Kohl with 0:38 to go in the period.

The Blue Devils would hold Bryant without a field goal for overe five minutes and pushed the lead to double-figures. Sophomoer Joe Hugley would hit a jumper and a three-pointer, sandwiched around a Nehls trey in an 8-0 run for Central. Hugley's trifecta would give CCSU a 54-44 lead with 12:24 to play.

A Nehls three-pointer with 9:46 to play put Central ahead, 63-49, with 9:46 to play for its largest lead of the day. The Bulldogs would outscore CCSU, 17-6, over a  six-minute span to get within 69-66 after a Ndugba three-point play with 2:55 remaining.

The Blue Devils would answer with a jumper from Kohl, who scored five straight Central, and the Bulldogs never got closer. CCSU went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 16 seconds and Bryant hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer for the final score.

CCSU matched a season-high with 17 assists on the day with Kohl and junior Eric Bowles tallying four each. Central shot 18-of-28 (.643) from the field after halftime to finish the game 32-of-58 (.552). The Blue Devils held a 37-28 rebounding edge and outscored Bryant in the paint, 38-26. Senior Shakaris Laney earned his third start of the year and blocked a career-high three shots to lead the Central defensive effort.

Ndugba scored a game-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Grant added 24 points for Bryant, which shot 27-of-64 (.422) on the game. 

Central hosts Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday, Jan. 18, in a 7:00 p.m. contest.

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