Central Connecticut men’s basketball entered its series against Long Island University with just eight players available. After some questionable foul calls late, the team closed its series out against the Sharks with only one sub available.
This has become the norm for the Blue Devils, who have not played with their entire roster available once this season. This new normal that players and coaches are learning to adjust to has transformed role players into members of the starting five, and made rest during a game near impossible.
The Blue Devils were bested in both of their games against LIU this past week and sit at 4-12 on the year against Northeast Conference opponents. They have one final series this week before wrapping up another season.
More important than the simple fact that the season concludes this week is that a decision will have to be made regarding the Blue Devils’ future. Head coach Donyell Marshall’s contract runs through the end of this season, and no decision has officially been announced yet. The former NBA and NCAA star has coached the Blue Devils to 23-65 against NEC opponents.
His record at the helm of CCSU does not tell the whole story in its entirety. The Blue Devils have developed some amazing talent under Marshall (Tyler Kohl etc.) and this year’s team is no different. Challenges such as depleted rosters and lack of scholarships available have brought with it some challenges.
These challenges showed in CCSU’s second game against LIU this week.
The team, despite being incredibly depleted, was in the game until the very last second. An opportunity to win the game was taken away after a violation was committed inbounding the ball. The next time the Blue Devils got the ball back, they drained a three that would have given them the lead had it not been too late. They ultimately fell 81-79.
The Blue Devils were without Ian Krishnan and Karrington Wallace, two of the teams veteran pieces and leading scorers. Greg Outlaw turned in 20 minutes of play, but he still did not look to be at 100 percent from a physical standpoint.
In their absence, the rest of the team managed to turn things up a notch. Zach Newkirk played the most minutes he’s played this season and led the team with 20 points. Myles Bakers grabbed eight rebounds and turned in 17 of his own.
Marshall said after the game that he thought his team played “extremely well” despite the final score, adding that they truly played together.
The frustrations of this season came to a boiling point late in the game for Jamir Reed. Reed was called for a foul late in the second half and sent to the bench. After this, Reed kicked a chair, which resulted in his second technical foul and an automatic ejection from the game.
“When you’re playing as hard as you can and some things don’t go your way, the frustration kicks in and that’s exactly what happened,” Marshall said.
The Blue Devils will finish off the regular season hosting Wagner, who is red hot and eyeing a spot in the NEC Tournament.
“They’re a team that has a lot of fire power,” Marshall said. “We just have to match their energy and protect the basketball.”
Marshall said the Blue Devils will be trying to “go out the right way.”