By Corey Pollnow
The Central Men’s basketball team (1-5) continues to struggle defensively as they dropped their home opener on Nov. 23 versus Rider 89-73.
Malcolm McMillan scored six points in the span of 25 minutes seconds to give Central a 10-3 lead five minutes into the game. Rider (2-4) would subsequently go on a 9-0 run. With nine minutes remaining in the first half, Khalil Alford made a three point shot, and the Broncs never looked back from that point on.
“I don’t have any answers as to why we’re not defending the ball,” said Central’s head coach, Howie Dickenman.
Despite practicing a defensive drill called “challenge the shot” to close out on shooter’s, the Blue Devils still allowed Rider to make seven of their 12 three point attempts in the first half and shoot 57 percent in the first half. “When we’re making baskets our defense is pretty good but when we go cold it’s a mental letdown for each of the players,” said Dickenman.
The Broncs headed into the locker room with a 16 point lead on the backs of Zedric Salder and Alford who respectively scored 15 and 10 points in the first 20 minutes. Central came out in the second half and closed the deficit to nine points on a layup by Khalen Cumberlander, but that was the closest the Blue Devils would get. “When the ball didn’t fall for us our energy appeared to be affected,” said Dickenman.
Central shot 35 percent from behind the arc last season, but versus Rider the team could only make four of their 18 three pointers which was. “I think when things don’t go well for us we don’t react very well to adversity,” said Dickenman.
CCSU ranks 344th out 345 teams in points given up per game, but the Blue Devils will have over 4 weeks to fix their defensive woes before conference play starts on Jan. 9 versus Wagner
Matt Hunter (concussion) and Terrell Allen were unable to play due to injuries, but Dickenman didn’t use that as an excuse for the Blue Devils loss.
Junior Kyle Vinales led Central in scoring with 16 points on three of 15 shooting. Forwards Faronte Drakeford and Juwan Newman combined to score 26 points and grab 18 rebounds.
Zedric led the Broncs offensively with 21 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
Central’s next game is tonight at Detrick Gym versus New Hampshire at 7 p.m.