Men’s Basketball Drops Two; Kohl And Hugley Suspended Indefinitely

Jamir+Coleman+%28above%29+scored+22+points+against+Sacred+Heart.
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Men’s Basketball Drops Two; Kohl And Hugley Suspended Indefinitely

Jamir Coleman (above) scored 22 points against Sacred Heart.

Jamir Coleman (above) scored 22 points against Sacred Heart.

Julia Jade Moran

Jamir Coleman (above) scored 22 points against Sacred Heart.

Julia Jade Moran

Julia Jade Moran

Jamir Coleman (above) scored 22 points against Sacred Heart.

Ryan Jones, Assistant Sports Editor

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Following two straight losses, Thursday’s game against Mount St. Mary’s was as “must-win” as they come. But not only did the Blue Devils lose the game, the loss also came with it the indefinite suspension of senior Tyler Kohl and junior Joe Hugley.

During the under eight-minute time out in the second half, a frustrated Kohl kicked one of the small metal chairs, hitting Hugley in the face, who was sitting in an adjacent chair.

Hugley was escorted off the court by an assistant coach and Kohl remained on the bench for the remainder of the game while the Blue Devils fell by a score of 79-66.

After the game, head coach Donyell Marshall blamed a mounting frustration as the reason behind the incident, clarifying that the actions were “unacceptable” and “not our values around here, and it’s not what we accept around here.”

The frustration can be boiled down to the untapped potential of a team that has struggled at times this season.

“We’re not performing the way we should be. It’s a team that at the beginning of the year we really thought we had a really good chance to finish in the top and win more games than we were winning,” Marshall said. “We were talented but we haven’t been playing hard, and I just think that the losing just really boiled over.”

The suspensions for Kohl and Hugley came due to “conduct detrimental to the program and the university.”

On Saturday, Marshall said the suspensions were being handled internally.

After the game Thursday, Marshall showed more concern with his team’s well-being rather than wins and losses.

“A lot of people want wins and losses and things like that, right now we gotta get our heads straight as a team. Wins and losses will take care of themselves. It’s more important to try and help these guy get out of the funk that they’re in and out of the funk that they’re in in life,” Marshall continued.

Delving deeper into the subject, Marshall drew from his own experiences.

“Basketball is supposed to be a safe haven, it’s not supposed to be where you have your frustrations. I know for me, no matter what I was going through in life, me being on the court was always a relaxing time for me,” he said. “Even as a coach, going through things off the court, coaching is a relaxing time for me. It shouldn’t be to the point of frustration like that. We gotta get them to be able to relax, try to help them with life right now.”

Vying for one of the final playoff spots in the Northeast Conference, being without these two could have easily spelled disaster for the Blue Devils. Kohl leads the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Meanwhile, Hugley is averaging 12.3 points per game coming off the bench.

The Blue Devils jumped out to a shocking 14-0 lead against Sacred Heart on Saturday. This was spearheaded by junior Jamir Coleman, who knocked down a pair of threes and picked off a SHU pass for an easy transition layup.

Freshman Ian Krishnan caught the Pioneers slacking and wound up with a steal of his own, before throwing down an emphatic dunk that brought down the gym with it. The stout CCSU defense forced 12 first-half turnovers, while only committing three themselves.

The Pioneers were able to shake off the rough start, stringing together an 8-1 run to go ahead 42-35 at the break.

Coleman thrived under the role of leader for the Blue Devils in the absence of Kohl. But with the increased workload, he remained level-headed.

“I was just worried about how to help my team and my brothers try to win, so that was my goal today,” Coleman said.

The Blue Devils continued to fight in the second half. After a bucket from Coleman cut the lead to just two, the Pioneers woke back up on offense and extended the lead. With the depth of the Blue Devils already stretched thin, the final Pioneer run proved to be too much, leading to the 80-66 defeat.

Marshall acknowledged his team fought hard in the face of adversity.

“They had one day to prepare this way, so I thought they did a tremendous job of playing hard, trying to play as a team and trying to win,” Marshall said.

As for the possibility of Kohl and Hugley’s return to the lineup for the final two games, Marshall gave less clarity.

“Everything is indefinite right now and everything else will be handled internally. Right now we’re just going to concentrate on the guys that are here,” he said.

One of the “guys here,” Coleman, has a simple goal for the rest of the season.

“Just win these two,” Coleman said. “We just gotta pick each other up. I know we’ve had a rough season, but if we can finish this season out, we can look forward to something at least.”

The Blue Devils will travel to LIU Brooklyn on Thursday before facing Fairleigh Dickinson at home on Saturday, their last game of the regular season. Sitting two games out of the final playoff spot, both games are a must-win for any sort of chance to play in the upcoming NEC Tournament.