Baker and Mitchell Lead the Way In Men’s Basketball Victory

Ryan Jones, Editor-in-Chief

After a close loss in the first game, Central Connecticut men’s basketball defeated Saint Francis University in the second game of the team’s double header 85-77.

Myles Baker and Tre Mitchell combined for for 43 points in the victory, both players matching career highs -Baker scoring 24 and Mitchell with 19. Mitchell scored 16 of his points in the second half.

“Today shows you the team’s resilience and the guys learning that we have to pick it back up,” head coach Donyell Marshall said following the game.

The win marked CCSU’s fourth victory of the year, improving the conference record to 4-7.

Baker was torching the defense as soon as he came into the game Sunday. The sophomore guard from Chicago shot 5-6 from the field in the first, good for 13 points.

The teams went back-and-forth with the lead throughout the first, but the Blue Devils were able to close out the half with momentum and took a 34-33 lead into the break. This was only the third game of the season that CCSU led going into half time.

While Baker stayed hot from the floor, the second half was all Tre Mitchell’s. The most important -and perhaps impressive- moment from him came in the final minutes of play.

Saint Francis U had cut Central’s lead down to six with just under four minutes to play. The Blue Devils have blown some leads late this season, but Mitchell would not let that happen Sunday. The junior transfer from Phoenix College made a three, then stole the ball, then made a layup through a foul and then hit his foul shot, all in succession. Mitchell’s six points in 26 seconds put CCSU back up by 12, making fa safer cushion for the Blue Devils as they closed things out in Pennsylvania.

Marshall said after the game that he noticed a difference in both the style of play as well as the mentality in his team.

“The excitement was there. It was ‘we’ over ‘me’,” Marshall said. “Everybody did a good job of making sure there was excitement in the gym for us. I think you could see that in the assists for us.”

Stephane Ayangma did not load up the stat sheet in the same way Baker and Mitchell did, but his play was critical in the team’s win. After the game, Marshall described how the senior has earned his spot on the floor.

“There were a couple of games earlier this year where Steph didn’t play,” Marshall said. “I knew he was frustrated but he stuck with it. He continued to play and if you look at the past couple of games, Steph has been a very important part of the rotation. He’s going out there, he’s trying to play the way we ask him to play and he’s just really playing hard and playing capable.”

After playing just two home games in January, the Blue Devils will be at home for five of their final seven games. Marshall has high expectations for the final stretch of the regular season.

“We know this is what we can do. We want to come in here and try to win a couple of games in a row.”