The Central Connecticut men's basketball team fell to Wagner 80-58 at Detrick Gymnasium on Thursday night in the Northeast Conference opener for both schools. The Seahawks used a 13-0 run in the opening period to build a double-digit lead they would not reliquish. The loss drops CCSU to 6-8 overall and 0-1 in the NEC, while Wagner moves to 6-6 overall and 1-0 in the league.
The Blue Devils travel to Sacred Heart on Saturday as part of a doubleheader. The CCSU women tip off against SHU at 1:00 p.m. and the men's game will follow at 3:30 p.m.
Wagner's Nigel Jackson opened the game's scoring with a three-pointer on the opening possession, but Central came back with a quick 6-1 run to take an early lead. A slashing layup by junior Tyson Batiste made it 6-4 at the 16:06 mark. The CCSU defense would hold the Sehawks without a field goal for nearly five minutes before a three-pointer by Romone Saunders with 14:41 to play in the opening period.
The Seahawks would go ahead 12-8 in the early going on a Chase Freeman three-pointer before the Blue Devils got a foul shot from junior Joe Hugley and a stepback jumper from freshman Ian Krishnan to cut the deficit to one point at the 12:11 mark.
Wagner responded by holding Central scoreless during a 13-0 run to push the lead to double-digits midway through the period. A trifecta by Saunders at the 9:34 mark would force a CCSU timeout after pushing the lead to 23-11. The margin grew to 14 points before a layup by freshman Karrington Wallace ended the CCSU scoring drought.
Central would outscore Wagner 7-1 during a stretch late in the period and get within 31-22 following a pair of foul shots by Hicks. Hicks, who scored nine straight for Central, followed a Wagner trey with five unanswered points on his own to cut the deficit to 34-29 with 1:34 to go in the half.
The Seahawks scored four straight points before Krishnan and Devin Liggeons traded three-pointers to close the period and give Wagner a 41-32 lead at the break.
Central was 11-of-25 (.440) from the field in the opening period, but just 2-of-7 (.286) from the three-point arc. Hicks had a season-high 13 points, on 5-of-7 shooting, in the opening period to pace CCSU.
Junior Jamir Coleman came out of halftime with six straight points for Central, but a three-pointer by Liggeons kept Wagner in front by double-figures, 52-42, with 15:04 to play. The Seahawks would maintain their lead with CCSU getting no closer than 54-47 with 12:49 to play. The Seahawks would push the lead back to double-figures and built their largest lead of the night with the final margin.
Hugley led CCSU and was 12-of-17 at the foul line, while adding nine rebounds. Hicks finished with a season-high 14 points. Krishnan added 10 points. Batiste had six assists with four points.
Central shot just 19-of-51 (.373) for the game and was 3-of-20 (.150) from the arc.
Elijah Davis had a game-high 19 points to lead three Seahawks in double-figures. Wagner shot 22-of-52(.423) from the floor and was 15-of-35 (.429) from three-point range. Wagner held a 36-30 edge in rebounding.
Central travels to Sacred Heart on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. tipoff.