By Corey Pollnow
In the waning seconds of the first overtime, with Central losing to Saint Francis University by three points, Malcolm McMillan received a pass in the corner from the NEC’s leading scorer, Kyle Vinales. McMillan, who’s an above-average shooter from behind the arc – 40 percent – missed his attempt to tie the game up and to bring the game to double overtime. However, McMillan was crafty and used some theatrics. He kicked his legs out further than was necessary and absorbed contact that resulted in three free throw attempts.
Standing at the free throw line on Wednesday evening at Detrick Gym, McMillan sunk three foul shots in a row to tie the game and force a second overtime, where Central clinched the win 84-81.
Last season McMillan struggled from the free throw line and shot 40 percent for the season, but through repetition and hard work he has drastically improved his shot at the charity stripe to 70 percent.
Coach Dickenman applauded the effort the guard puts in during practice.
“This year through nothing but hard work in the spring, summer and fall [Malcolm improved his shot.] I told him downstairs that last year he wouldn’t have made those shots,” Dickenman said.
In overtime, Coach Dickenman bribed his players by telling them that if anyone took a charge, no one has to do up and back sprints for the rest of the season. The bribery worked.
“[McMillan] is a very popular player right now [for taking a charge] and all the boys love him. But, sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do to get them to play well,” said Dickenman.
Matt Hunter, who led CCSU with 23 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists, said,
“I feel like today we played down to their level, and we didn’t play as good as we have in our previous [two wins] versus Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart.”
Senior Joe Efese stepped up in his second to last game with 16 points, seven boards, and three blocks.
“Joe’s been playing great lately,” said Hunter. “He realizes his season is coming to an end and he doesn’t want to go out with a loss, so he stays after practice and gets up extra shots. His jump shots having been falling as well as his hook shot.”
The NEC’s leading scorer, Kyle Vinales, had 19 points on seven of 15 shooting in 46 minutes.
Ben Millaud-Meunier led the Red Flash with 21 points and hit six of his nine three-point attempts. SFU collectively shot 38 three-pointers and Dickenman questioned if he’s ever seen a team shoot that many threes against his team.
The teams split the home and away series and Central won’t be seeing SFU in the NEC tournament because the Red Flash have been mathematically eliminated.