The Central Connecticut men's basketball team won its third straight game in a 72-63 win over LIU Brooklyn on Saturday at Detrick Gymnasium in Northeast Conference action. The contest featured six ties and 16 lead changes, but CCSU would take the lead for good with 7:09 to play. Junior Tyler Kohl scored a team-high 20 points, while sophomore Joe Hugley grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to go with nine points off the bench.
CCSU moves to 11-10 overall and 4-4 in the Northeast Conference. The Blue Devils improved to 7-1 at Detrick Gymnasium, matching its best home start since 2011-12. LIU had a three-game win streak snapped and are now 9-12 overall and 4-4 in the NEC.
Central will play its next four games on the road. The Blue Devils travel to Bryant on Thursday, Jan. 25, for a 7:00 p.m. game. The game will be available live on ESPN3.
The Blackbirds took an early lead with an 8-2 run. After Central opened the game's scoring, LIU came back with eight straight beginning with a Julian Batts layup. A pair of foul shots from Jashaun Augosto would make it 8-2 at the 16:43 mark.
The Blue Devils would respond by outscoring LIU, 13-3, over a six-plus minute span in the opening half to regain the lead and begin the back-and forth tussle. Junior Deion Bute and Hugley hit consecutive layups, followed by a three-pointer from Kohl to give CCSU a 9-8 edge. After a Blackbirds layup, sophomore Tyson Batiste hit a three-pointer and senior Mustafa Jones converted a three-point play to give Central a 15-11 lead at the 10:58 mark.
LIU would come back and build a 23-19 lead after a three-pointer by Joel Hernandez, but the Blue Devils would respond with six straight points of their own late in the period to regain the lead. A three-point play by Hugley would make it 27-25 for CCSU at the 3:08 mark.
The teams would trade the lead two three times in the closing two minutes of the period before the Blackbirds took a two-point lead at halftime. A pair of LIU three-pointers, sandwiched around a Kohl layup, made it 31-29 at the break.
LIU would take its largest lead of the second half with three straight points to open the period. Raiquan Clark hit a foul shot and Hernandez followed with a jumper to make it 34-29 with 19:06 to play. The Blue Devils would take their first lead of the half on back-to-back trifectas from junior Austin Nehls and Hugley to make it 37-36, but the score would be tied three more times and the lead changed six more times from that point.
A three-pointer from Jashaun Agosto would give LIU its last lead at 49-47 with 7:34 to play. Nehls would come back with a three-pointer on the next possession for Central, as the Blue Devils would take the lead for good with a 10-3 spurt to make it 57-52 with 3:30 to play. Kohl would score the final seven CCSU points in the spurt.
Junior Eric Bowles would hit a three-pointer with 1:47 to play that put Central up 61-56 after the Blackbirds got within a possession. LIU would get no closer than six points the rest of the way as the Blue Devils outscored LIU, 14-7, in the final 1:47. Bowles' three would begin a personal run of six straight points to open a 9-0 run as the Blue Devils pushed the lead to double-digits after a pair of foul shots from Nehls made it 67-56 with 39 seconds left and the Blackbirds got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
Central finished the day 25-of-61 (.410) from the field and 6-of-20 (.300) from three-point range. CCSU was 16-of-23 (.696) from the foul line and held a 42-29 margin in rebounding. Kohl finished with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. Nehls added 15 points and five rebounds, while Bute had nine points and eight rebounds. Hugley went for eight points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in 31 minutes off the bench.
LIU was led by Agosto's game-high 22 points. Hernandez added 15 points. LIU shot 24-of-57 (.421) overall and 8-of-25 (.320) from the arc. The Blackbirds were just 7-of-12 (.583) at the foul line.
Central travels to Bryant on Thursday night for a 7:00 p.m. game at Bryant.