Men’s basketball concluded their 2019-20 season by honoring three seniors on Senior Night in Jamir Coleman, Tyler Rowe and Donyelle Marshall Jr. The Blue Devils lost their final two games of the season but fought hard, just as they have been in the second half of their season.
CCSU celebrated Coleman, Rowe and Donyell Marshall Jr. on Saturday at home against Saint Francis Brooklyn. The Terriers defeated the Blue Devils 85-79 in the final game of the season for Central but the Blue Devils were in it throughout and were within two in the closing minutes of the game.
Coleman led the attack during his final game as a Blue Devil, scoring a career-high 28 points. He also had 10 rebounds, securing a double-double, his second this season.
Rowe also put together a career night, scoring 15 points on 6/15 shooting from the floor. He added four rebounds, an assist and a steal while playing 32 minutes.
Marshall Jr. started his final game as a collegiate athlete but only played seven minutes. Despite the limited role, his father, head coach Donyell Marshall, said he played productive minutes for his team.
The three seniors said it was a blessing being able to play at Central Connecticut and for head coach Donyell Marshall.
“It was a blessing, coming from a division three school, coming as a walk-on and being able to play division one basketball especially here at Central it means a lot,” Rowe said.
“Definitely a blessing,” Coleman said. “Thanks to the coaching staff, thanks to the players, just thanks to the fans as well.”
“I agree that it is a blessing too,” Marshall Jr. said. “In the four years that have gone by, I’ve met tons of great people on the team and would love to do it all again if I could.”
Sophomore Ian Krishnan also scored in the double digits with 10 and went 4-9 from the field.
In the second half, where Coleman scored 22 of his 28 total points, he said that he channeled his inner mamba mentality and broke down a defender to hit a turnaround jump shot from the baseline. He then belted out “They can’t guard me.”
“That was Kobe, that was just Kobe talking,” Coleman said.
The Terriers’ junior guard Chauncy Hawkins had a game-high 38 points and did most of his damage from the free-throw line going 19 for 20. Senior forward Deniz Celen and freshman guard Rob Higgins also had double-digit points for Saint Francis Brooklyn with 10 and 13 respectively.
When asked what the team could have done better in the game Coach Marshall said stopping Hawkins would have helped the team secure a victory against St. Francis Brooklyn.
“Obviously, not letting Hawkins get 38. I think he did a very good job of getting to the free-throw line and making his free throws,” Marshall said. “I thought we played well, I thought we played hard, we just can’t let a guy like that have the type of game he had.”
CCSU jumped out to a 10-5 lead with 14:52 left in the first half after Rowe scored five straight points. The Terriers went on an 8-0 run that helped them take the lead for good at the 12:17 mark. Just before halftime, a pair of Hawkins free throws gave SFBK a 42-32 lead going into the locker room.
The Blue Devils fought back in the second half by going on 7-1 run to cut the Terriers lead to just six points. With 1:54 left in the game. In the final minute of the game, Krishnan hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 77-75. SFBK would then hold off the CCSU comeback attempt by going 6-6 from the free-throw line to ice the game.
Before facing the Terriers, Central was on the road against Merrimack University and lost 69-58 on Thursday. With the victory, the Warriors clinched the Northeast Conference’s regular-season title. The Warriors outshot the Blue Devils 41.4 percent to 33.3 percent from the field. Merrimack shot 9-28 from three-point range, while Central only made two of their 10 attempts from behind the arc. CCSU committed 19 turnovers that led to 22 points for Merrimack.
Freshmen Myles Baker and Greg Outlaw lead the Blue Devils in scoring with 12 and 10 respectively. Baker went 3-11 from the field with six rebounds, while Outlaw shot 4-8 and added eight rebounds.
Merrimack’s senior guard Juvaris Hayes had a busy night. Hayes finished the game with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and five steals.
CCSU was held scoreless in the final 2:12 of the first half. The Warriors scored the final five points of the opening half and led the Blue Devils 40-30 at halftime.
It was the same story in the second half as Merrimack scored the first four points to open the second half and held Central to just one field goal in the first three minutes after halftime.
The Blue Devils finished the season with a 4-27 overall record and 3-15 record in Northeast Conference play. Central will be without Coleman, Rowe and Marshall Jr. next year. Looking ahead to next season, the Blue Devils will hope to return 80 percent of their roster, develop their young core and build off what was an overall disappointing season for the team.