Recap: CCSU 86, UMass-Lowell 74
Don't let that score fool you, this one wasn't nearly as close as the 12-point spread might indicate. The Blue Devils were in control from the get go, and this game was never in doubt. The lead ballooned to 24 points with about 7:10 left in the game, and for the first time all season Donyell Marshall got to empty his bench. According to Bart Torvik's site, CCSU's win expectancy never dropped below 93% in the second half. Blow. Out.
Not that anyone outside Detrick Gym would have known; the NEC Front Row feed was, at best, intermittent, and generally unwatchable...at least when there was any video to be seen. Very frustrating.
CCSU continues to shoot the lights out, as their eFG% this season is 56.9%, which ranks 65th nationally. To put that in perspective, last year that figure was 51.0% (167th).
Surprisingly, Central Connecticut got beat on the glass in this one by the undersized Riverhawks. Anecdotally, it feels like boxing out has been an issue on the defensive end.
Tyler Kohl is a three-point shooter, now?
Last season, despite having a really good first season at Central (he was an All-NEC 2nd teamer, after all), he largely struggled from behind the three-point arc; he shot 29% on the season (30% in conference play). After he went 0 for 3 in the exhibition win over Arcadia and 2 for 7 at Hartford, it was reasonable to assume that three-point shooting would never be a big part of his game.
However, after knocking down 4 of 7 at Georgetown, he comes home to Detrick Gym and goes 4 for 6, with all his makes in the first half, and his now shooting 57% (8 for 14) from three.
Should we expect a continuation of this? Probably not. But if he can even be an average 3P shooter (~35%), it will open up the driving lanes for him that much more.
After scoring 26 points tonight, Kohl is now averaging 25 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 4.3 apg. Is that good? I feel like that's good.
Kohl's not the only one!
Central Connecticut was 12 for 24 from three tonight, and that marks their second game in a row with twelve made three-pointers. Do you know when the last time they made that many three-pointers twice in the same season (let alone back-to-back)? 2012! Yeah, it's been awhile.
It wasn't just Kohl; Ian Krishnan (my NEC Rookie of the Week) had three, Jamir Coleman made two, and Tyson Batiste, Karrington Wallace and Will Ellis each made one.
Right now the Blue Devils are shooting 46.4% from three, which is 17th in the nation. Is that their true talent level? Probably not. But their shooting ability appears to be much improved over a season ago, and it's great to see.
Knocking down the freebies
After missing some vital free throw attempts in the loss at Georgetown, the Blue Devils shot 16 of 18 (89%) from the foul line Tuesday night, and are now shooting 76% on the season, which ranks 60th nationally.
Ian Krishnan was 5 of 6, Tyler Kohl and Joe Hugley both 4-4. and Kashaun Hicks was 2-2. Every player who has attempted at least four free throws on the season is shooting above 70% except Deion Bute, who surprisingly is just 3 for 7. This will serve them well in close games.
Stay hot, Ian Krishnan. And by the way, the dude isn't just a three-point shooter. He's more than comfortable driving to the rim, and is now 11 for 17 from inside the three-point arc. He's got a 129 O-Rating on 21.4% usage. Austin who?
Tyler Kohl is now logging a 34.3% usage rate (up from 30.3% last season), and it feels right. He's involved in everything they do offensively, and is so good at getting others involved. Give him the ball and let him make a play.
It's interesting to see how Donyell Marshall mixes and matches his lineup based on the opponent. Tonight, it was Karrington Wallace getting 26 minutes, the same number of minutes combined for Deion Bute and Joe Hugley. It's easy to see why Marshall likes Wallace; he's mobile and bouncy, and even knocked down a three. Against a team without a true big, Wallace may often be the best option up front. Versatility reigns supreme in 2018.
A rough game for Thai Segwai, who went scoreless and had 0 assists but 4 turnovers in 10 minutes. I love him on the defensive end, but he's got to give more offensively. Coincidentally, Will Ellis saw his first action of the season and knocked down a three-pointer and had four rebounds in 6 minutes of garbage time.
Turnovers remain an issue; their 21.9% TO rate is essentially the same as last season.
Lastly, nice job by the coaching staff in imposing their will on UMass-Lowell. The 71 possessions was the slowest the Riverhawks have played this season,
I feel like UMass-Lowell has the talent to surprise a bit in the America East. They have six players who can score double figures any night, and have some size as well.
You can see the talent oozing out of Alex Rivera. He was pretty quiet tonight (12 points, 3 assists), but is going to be a star in that league.
The Riverhawks love to take threes, but they would do well to make a few more; their shooting just 30.6% on the season after making just 7 of 23 Tuesday night.
Central Connecticut St. will head to Jamaica for the Jersey Mike Jamaica Classic, where they will play Austin Peay at 11am on Friday on CBS Sports Network. A real nice barometer game.