Recap: CCSU 100, Fairleigh Dickinson 96 (2OT)
Aaaaaand exhale...after starting 0-2 in conference play, then blowing a 20-point first half lead, a 16-point second half lead, and a 9-point lead with 5:33 left, the Blue Devils finally put away Fairleigh Dickinson for their first NEC win of the season. Oh, but not before they allowed yet another buzzer-beating three to force overtime.
There were times when Central Connecticut St. looked like the team we saw in November (when we thought there was a chance they were the best team in the league), and there were times when the turnover-bug reared its ugly head and allowed the Knights back in the game.
But a win is a win, and Donyell Marshall and staff will surely take it.
Tyler Kohl is on our team, and what a treat that is.
All he did Thursday night was score 27 points (on 16 shots) in 46 minutes, to go along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists, plus some clutch free throws in overtime. Nbd.
There were deep pull-up three-pointers, crafty shots around the rim, passes out of double-teams, and mid-range step-backs. Kohl had it all going on Thursday night, and it's games like that that will result in him getting heavy POY consideration.
Krishnan the Killer
Remember when Ian Krishnan was 2 for 18 from three in conference play? lol me neither.
Krishnan was nails on Thursday night; 7 of 13 from three (10 of 17 overall) and a career high 27 points, plus he was more active defensively doing a really good job on the quick FDU guards.
For anyone worried that Krishnan had already hit that freshman wall; nope. He broke out in a big way on Thursday.
We all remember three weeks ago when Donyell Marshall chose not to foul up three with less than five seconds on the clock not once, not twice, but three times, two of which resulted in game-tying three-pointers at the buzzer.
Well, he had another opportunity on Thursday night in regulation and, well, who knows what the decision was there. Greg Herenda didn't want to find out, and instead went all Bryce Drew/Valparaiso on the Blue Devils.
I'm not sure any Blue Devil had a chance to foul there; maybe Deion Bute could have fouled Edge before he got the shot off, but it's tough to tell with that angle. It looks like maybe the error was Ian Krishnan going for the ball, but I'd rather just credit FDU for running a great play. Shots happen.
Closing out Games
CCSU lost a big lead in this one, but what concerns me more is the struggles in finishing out close games. CCSU was up 7 with just over three minutes left, ultimately allowing a 9-0 run to allow FDU to take the lead.
At Maine, the Blue Devils were up 6 with two minutes left, only to see Overtime (twice). And at Loyola Marymount, Central Connecticut had a 5-point lead with 1:49 left and ended up on the wrong side of the ledger.
The problem on Thursday was turnovers; 18 turnovers total, which doesn't look so bad considering the game went to double-overtime, but the Blue Devils coughed it up 17 times in regulation. Very sloppy at times.
The 1.17 PPP CCSU scored on Thursday night was their best output since the aforementioned loss to Loyola Marymount, and it wasn't just the shooting. Yes, making 45% of their threes (13 of 29) was a big reason why they put up 100 points, but they did a much better job of swinging the ball and finding the open man.
After assisting on just 6 of their 23 made field goals against Sacred Heart, the Blue Devils had 19 assists on Thursday night on 44 made field goals. That's more like it.
I guess Joe Hugley likes the Rothman Center. He had 24 points Thursday night after scoring a career high 33-points last season at FDU. Hugley's corner three-pointer in the second overtime essentially put the game away, plus he had 7 rebounds and was 6 or 6 from the free throw line.
I thought Deion Bute had a chance to have a big game at FDU, and he was really good. A double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, plus the go-ahead dunk late in regulation. It seemed like he got every big rebound in the second half.
Jamir Coleman had a rough one; just 1 for 7 from the field and 1 rebound. I feel like he could try to get to the rim with more frequency; there was one possession in the second half where it appeared he had a clear lane on the baseline, but instead pulled up for a 15-footer. I don't think any NEC defender wants to see Coleman charging at them toward the rim.
FDU came in as the team that doesn't go deep into the bench, but only six Blue Devils played more than ten minutes on Thursday night. Segwai's struggles continued (though he was 2 for 2 from the field), as did Hicks'.
I fully expect Fairleigh Dickinson to contend for a league title; it took perhaps CCSU's best all-around game of the season to knock off the Knights in double overtime. That rematch on March 2 will be fun.
The Blue Devils head to Emmitsburg to take on 0-3 Mount St. Mary's, which lost at home to Bryant 66-59 on Thursday. Can't have a let-down there; getting to 2-2 is imperative.