Men’s Basketball Delivers In Clutch For First Winning Streak


CCSU Athletics

CCSU basketball secured their first winning streak when they defeated Fairleigh Dickinson 76-75.

Ryan Jones, Managing Editor

Through losing streaks, growing pains and tribulations, Central Connecticut men’s basketball have finally found their groove, collecting their first back-to-back wins of the season.

A lights out first half from the floor against Fairleigh Dickinson propelled the Blue Devils to a 13 point lead heading into the break. A late push from the Knights was cut short, as Central Connecticut edged them out by a point at home. The win is their second in a row after another home-court victory against Bryant.

Head coach Donyell Marshall has seen the change in mentality among his players throughout the season and credits that to their recent success.

“Earlier in the year we’re kind of getting blown out, the guys are down, they didn’t know if they were good enough,” Marshall said. “The guys are starting to realize that they’re good and that they can play with anyone in this league.”

The Blue Devils shot 71.4 percent from beyond the arc in the first. This output was their second-best three-point percentage in a half against Northeast Conference opponents.

Ian Krishnan and Trey Tennyson led the way on offense, each of them dropping in 11 in the first. Krishnan was a perfect five-of-five.

Things cooled down in the second half for CCSU. After seemingly every shot attempted would fall in the first, the Blue Devils only shot 40 percent from the floor in the second.

Central stuttered offensively to start the second, but their defense and some clutch plays down the stretch were able to stave off the Knights’ attack.

Fairleigh Dickinson went on a 36-24 run to start off the second. With just over a minute remaining, the Knights came within one of tying it. Freshman Myles Baker, who came off the bench for five points in the first, drilled a long-range bomb to put CCSU back up two possessions. In one of the Knights’ final attempts to tie the game, Baker came flying in with a block to ice the game.

Like Marshall, Baker has also seen the team performing better than they did at the start of the season.

“We’re definitely maturing,” Baker said. “You see us, we’ve just been playing next game and next game, next man up. Trey had a good game today, last game it was me, the game before it was Jamir. Everyone is just stepping up.”

Though the last few minutes were a bit of a nail biter, Marshall thinks the close finish was more beneficial as a learning experience for the team.

“It was closer than we’d like, but it took for that for these kids to grow,” Marshall said. “You look to Saint Francis PA where we lost that game, to them they needed to know that they could win these type of games.”

The Blue Devils traveled to Wagner for their next game, with a shot at the playoffs still there.

Similar to their last game, CCSU came out swinging in the first. The Blue Devils shot 50 percent from downtown on their way to a 35-29 lead.

The scoring bug switched sides in the second half. After knocking down half of the shots they attempted in the first, CCSU only shot 16.7 percent in the second.

Wagner’s two starting guards piled in 10 each in the second, catapulting them to a 12 point win over the Blue Devils.

Though the win streak came to an end, Marshall is less worried about results and more focused on his player’s development.

“Guys are practicing better, coming in with the right focus and practicing hard,” Marshall said. “Not to say that they weren’t earlier. Earlier in the year every time we lost guys just got down, where now I think they’re listening more, they’re paying attention, watching film a little bit more showing that ‘this is why it wasn’t working’ and they’re doing it.”

With the playoffs now out of the question for CCSU, only two games remain on the 2019-2020 season. The Blue Devils will be traveling to first-seeded Merrimack before finishing off their season at home against St. Francis Brooklyn.