The Central Connecticut men's basketball team rallied for a 77-68 win at Mount St. Mary's on Saturday in Knott Arena. Senior Deion Bute had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead four Blue Devils in double-figures. Central erased a 16-point first half deficit to improve to 8-9 overall and 2-2 in the Northeast Conference.
The Blue Devils return home to host Saint Francis U on Saturday, Jan. 19.
Bute posted his second straight double-double and was 6-of-7 from the field. Senior Tyler Kohl added 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Freshman Ian Krishnan scored 13 points in the second half, while junior Joe Hugley scored 12 points off the bench for CCSU.
Central shot 47.9 percent (23-of-48) from the ield and was 6-of-18 (.333) from three-point range. The Blue Devils went 25-of-30 (.833) at the foul line and held a 38-25 rebounding edge.
The Mountaineers used the three-pointer to build an early lead, scoring their first 15 points via the arc. A three-pointer by junior Jamir Coleman tied the game 9-9 before Mount scored eight unanswered points to open a 17-9 lead with 13:31 to go in the half after a jumper by Nana Opoku.
Mount St. Mary's extended the lead to 27-11 with a spurt of eight unanswered points. Three-pointers by Dee Barnes and Damian Chong Qui followed by a layup by Vado Morse gave Mount it's largest lead of the period midway through the opening half.
The Blue Devils would cut the deficit to single digits by the intermission after holding Mount scoreless over the final 5:18. A three-pointer by senior Tyler Kohl started the CCSU closing run, before junior Deion Bute had a layup down low and converted two foul shots just before the break to make it 32-26 at the intermission.
Central shot 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from the field in the opening period, while the Mountaineers finished the period shooting just 11-of-29 (.379) from the field, but were 8-of-14 (.571) from the three-point arc.
CCSU opened the second half with a foul shot by Kohl and a jumper from freshman Ian Krishnan to get within 35-29 but the Mount came back and pushed the lead to 41-32 after a dunk by Malik Jefferson with 16:50 to play.
Mount would lead by as much as 48-36 in the second half before the Blue Devils began their comeback. Trailing by eight with 8:57 to play, CCSU got a pair of Hugley layups sandwiched around a Bute layup to make it a one-possession game.
After a Mount foul shot, Krishnan would tie the game with a three-pointer to make it 60-60 with 6:31 remaining. Krishnan would follow with a pair of foul shots and another three-pointer as part of a personal 8-0 run that gave CCSU the lead for good at 65-60 with 5:37 to play.
Central would hold Mount St. Mary's to just two field goals over the final 8:57. A Mountaineers three-pointer with 1:41 remaining would cut the Central lead to 71-68 but CCSU would go 6-of-8 at the line down the stretch and hold Mount scoreless in the final 1:41 to seal the victory.
CCSU was 13-of-26 (.500) from the field in the second half.
The CCSU defense held Mount to .385 (20-of-52) shooting for the game. Mount St. Mary's opened the game 8-of-10 from three-point range, but would then go just 5-of-19 to finish the game shooting 44.5 percent from the arc. Omar Habwe led four Mountaineers in double-figures with 17 points and six rebounds.
The Blue Devils return to action on Saturday, Jan. 19, when they host Saint Francis U at 3:30 p.m.