All posts by Dillon Meehan

Hickey Gets Team Ready For Conference Play

by Alex Nordstrom

The Central Connecticut State Blue Devil baseball team has had an up and down run in the Northeast Conference, which has been highlighted by a stretch from 2002-2004 when they won title for three consecutive years.

In the past few years however, the Blue Devils have been inconsistent in where they have ended up among conference competition.

Last year, CCSU made the NEC tournament finishing fourth during the regular season with a 15-17 record. However, the season before that they missed the tournament finishing in last pace.  Two years ago, in 2014, they were runner’s up in the regular season for the NEC conference.

In the NEC pre-season poll this season, the Blue Devils received a number two ranking in the conference behind reigning tournament champion Bryant and ahead of last year’s runner-up Sacred Heart.

Leading the way for the Blue Devils this year will be their All-NEC junior second basemen Dean Lockery, who was third in hits (72) and seventh in batting average (.344) in the conference last season. CCSU also has a returning All-League first team starting pitcher in senior Andrew Hinckley, anchoring the pitching staff who was fourth in the conference last year in wins (8).

With such a high ranking and spot to be in heading into the 2017 season, 18th year head coach of the Blue Devils, Charlie Hickey, says that rankings mean nothing to his team.

“I don’t think it means anything in terms of pre-season rankings and to be honest about it, I didn’t even know about it,” said Hickey. “We have to sure up some things with our pitching staff with a couple of injuries before heading into conference play first of all.”

Hickey did point out that his team will benefit from more three game weekends than four this season.

“The first two weekends are only going to be three games which will be beneficial to us at this time of the year,” said Hickey.

With two of the team’s top pitchers in, senior Brett Susi and junior Cody Brown coming off injuries, Hickey says that shorter game match ups early on in the season will give these two the time to get back fully healthy without the need to rush.

Hickey said another positive thing that his Blue Devils have going for them right now is a lot of different position combinations that has created good competition for his players.

“Competition creates a little anxiety and people come to the ballpark having to prove themselves,” said Hickey. “It is not going to be a team that we are going to just write down the same nine guy’s everyday which is fine and it will keep everyone going.”

Bryant is a team at the top of the list that CCSU is looking to take down this year, especially as they come into this season as reigning conference champions, in addition to a top ranking in the conference.

“They are a good team, and they have been a good team,” said Hickey. “They are re-building a little bit this year after having seven kids drafted off of last year’s team, which is pretty remarkable in this conference and part of the country.”

When it comes down to it, Hickey puts it very simple regarding his expectations for this upcoming season, pre-season rankings and everything else set aside.

“I think our expectations are to be able to compete at the top level of the conference, it’s where we should be and what we are capable of doing.”

Currently on the young season, CCSU sits at 9-7 in non-conference play, good enough for the best record in the conference so far. They started conference play this weekend with three wins against Mount St. Mary’s, as they began their run towards a conference title.

 

Blue Devils Gear Up For Big Season This Fall

by Dillon Meehan

It’s February, which signifies the start of the 2017 season for Central Connecticut’s football team.

First there is national signing day, where thousands of kids across the country formally announce where they will be attending college. For the Blue Devils that number was 17. Eight of which came out of Connecticut, which was by far the most from any state.

“It was a strong class,” said Pete Rossomando head coach of the Blue Devils. “They really fit our needs the guys that we took. In the past we’ve always tried to focus on Connecticut first and then move on after that to our outlying areas. But this year was especially strong for us and kids wanted to stay close to home.”

However signing day is not the only way to improve a roster. Two seasons ago, the Blue Devils brought in Cameron Nash who transferred from West Virginia and quickly became one of the main contributors to the Blue Devils offense. This year it is Kyle Baum, a safety from Temple. Bringing in Division I talent is a great way to improve the team. But Rossomando insists they’re not bringing in kids with bad backgrounds, he does not want to cut corners in order to win.

“It’s got to be the right fit overall, the kid that we took from Temple is a 3.5 GPA pre med major. We want to make sure we get good people. It’s important to get good players I get it. Everyone wants to win, but at what costs. I got to work with these kids everyday, I want to make sure I work with good people.”

It’s going to be an important year for Rossomando, who is feeling the pressure of not meeting it up to some fans expectations.

“I’m in my fourth year here, and we haven’t necessarily turned it around the way everyone else has expected. But we want to make sure we’re doing it the right way. When I was at New Haven, I didn’t do that, when we were at Albany, we didn’t do that. We built it the right way.”

This particular Blue Devils team has the luxury of being filled with upperclassman. Having only a handful of players, Rossomando hopes to see just how good they can be with spring practices starting next month.

We’ve got a lot of guys back. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re gonna be better but we’ve got a pretty good chance at being better,” said Rossomando of his team. “Defensively we only lost three guys that played. They’re good players, but I think we have some depth behind them that will help us. I think we’re ready to make a jump this year. We have a veteran team coming back, which is nice. They understand expectations, they understand what it takes to win in this league.”

This fall is going to see the Rossomando face off against a FBS team for the first time in his career. The Blue Devils are opening their season against Syracuse. It’s tough to face a Division I program, let alone from one of the “Power 5” conferences. Rossomando doesn’t know what to expect, but he knows it’s a huge opportunity for his team.

“I don’t know, I’ll let you know on Sept. 3,” Rossomando said with a smile. “They’re a good team, it’s just going to be fun. It’s going to be fun for our kids. It’s the Carrier Dome one of the iconic buildings in the country, specially at the college level.”

Spring practice generally starts in mid to late March, with the spring game coming in the last week of April. Stay tuned for more updates on the Blue Devils.

Claudio Ranieri: From Legend to Scapegoat

By Dillon Meehan

Just 11 months ago, Leicester City were capturing the headlines as the greatest underdog stories in the history of sports.  A perennial mediocre club and Claudio Ranieri, their heavily criticized manager, somehow managed to win in the toughest league in the world.

Their three best players were Jamie Vardy, a 29-year old striker who was playing in amateur leagues just a few seasons prior; Riyad Mahrez, a winger who was forgotten about due to his short stature and small frame; and N’Golo Kante a defensive stalwart who was incredibly undervalued while playing in France’s Ligue 1.

Vardy finished with 24 goals, only one behind leader Harry Kane. Mahrez finished with 17 goals and 10 assists and the PFA Player of the Year. And Kante finished with more tackles at 175 and interceptions at 157 than any other player in the Premier League.

Heading into this season, there was a variety of opinions on how Leicester would finish. Some believed that despite losing their best midfielder, they would still be able to compete for a spot in the top four and a chance to play in Champions League. Others believed that they would return to mediocrity and the club would be relegated by this time next year.

While the season is not over yet, it is looking as though the latter. Until their win on Monday against Liverpool, the club hadn’t won a game since Dec. 26 and had only scored a handful of goals in 2017. It looked as though the team had simply given up and were in  free fall.

Some called for Ranieri to be fired, others wanted the players benched. Unfortunately for Ranieri, it is far easier to blame a manager and replace him than get rid of a club’s best players. On Thursday, Feb. 23, the club announced it had fired Ranieri. The announcement was met with both applause and jeers from fans, pundits and former players. Gary Lineker, the club’s former striker, called the move a “panic decision” and admitted to crying after hearing the news.

Ranieri was given the nickname “the tinkerman” due to his inability keep a consistent squad and often making changes and disrupting chemistry. It was often meant as a slight and it was something that stuck with him his entire career. This season saw Ranieri often make several changes to the teams lineup in hopes of saving the season and his job, but ultimately it was what cost him. While he will go down as the man who managed the greatest underdog story in sports history, he unfairly lost his job.

Blue Devils Cruise Past St. Francis Brooklyn on Senior night

 

It had been a rough season for Central Connecticut’s men’s basketball team.  It was the sixth consecutive losing season for the Blue Devils and their third straight having six or less wins.

However, the Blue Devils were able to finish their season on a high note with an impressive second half comeback, defeating  St Francis-Brooklyn 62-53.

At halftime, the Blue Devils were down 34-32 having watched another lead disappear. It appeared to be yet another collapse by the Blue Devils.

Although, CCSU was able to start the second half off strong by taking the lead, only three minutes into the second after consecutive baskets by Mustafa Jones.

“I think the guys responded in the second half, we started slow and I didn’t do too well offensively. So I had to do other things like take charges and get some big rebounds and steals,” said Cumberlander on the teams second half surge.

A few minutes later Nehl’s hit three pointer to make it 43-36, and from there, the Blue Devils held on to a commanding lead.

With under three minutes left in the game, Khalen Cumberlander drove to the right baseline and made an impressive over the head pass to Jones for the wide open dunk, making 59-53 to seal the victory for the Blue Devils.

It was the final home game of Khalen Cumberlander’s career. Cumberlander currently ranks 29th all time in CCSU scoring.  Although his stats were not as impressive, he made key contributions on both sides of the floor to spur the comeback.

“It’s bittersweet.  It’s my last game in Detrick Gym, I emphasized to the guys just how important this game was to me, Tafari and Tidell to go out on a win in front of our home crowd,” said Cumberlander on his message to the team before the game.

Donyell Marshall’s first season was marred by inconsistent performances. A feat he himself is frustrated in.

“When you have the competitiveness that I have and you’ve only won six games obviously you’re not happy. Especially when you can go back and look at four or five games we could’ve won,” said Marshall on his first season as a head coach.

“I think if you look at our team we went 2-17 in our first nineteen games or something like that. And now we’ve won four in our last nine right now. We’ve gotten better and thats why we do this. The guys have gotten better and the guys continue to work hard, even today when we were officially eliminated they could’ve given up, but they wanted to end this on the right note,” said Marshall on the team’s improvement this season.

“I told them before last game that I appreciate them accepting me as their new coach at the beginning of the year. They made me learn. That’s when you know you have a team, not only when they’re willing to learn but that they made the coach learn. They made me learn about myself and the fight that I have to have. Obviously your frustrated we lost 13 in a row at one point, but I guess the thing that helped me was I was with Golden State where we lost 11 or 12 in a row as a player.”

While he only has been a part of the team for less than a year, he credits Cumberlander for his successful transition as the Blue Devils head coach.

“This is KC’s (Khalen Cumberlander) last home game, which is bittersweet for me. He accepted me right away. It wasn’t ‘Coach I’m the man this is what they ran for me’ or whatever. He asked me what I needed from him and I told him I just needed him to get better everyday, play harder, and be a leader and he accepted that role,” said Marshall.

Despite the rough season, Marshall believes the team will improve in the 2017-18 season. Although the Blue Devils will lose Cumberlander and Tidell Pierre, he believes in his current players as well as the incoming recruits.

“Our freshman will be a lot better next year. I also think the recruits you have coming in are some damn good recruits. So we’ll have the talent that will be able to play a lot more,” said Marshall on his outlook for next season.

Halo Wars 2 Review

by Dillon Meehan

It has been a rough start for 343 Industries. After Bungie, the creators of the Halo series split with Microsoft in 2010 to join Acitvision Blizzard. In 2012, 343 launched Halo 4, a disappointment by Halo standards, and regarded by many as the worst in the franchise.

Two years later, The Master Chief Collection followed, which featured the four main Halo games all on one disk. It gave players the option to play through a decade of great games on the newest Xbox hardware. But it was plagued by server related issues that rendered online play practically impossible.

In the fall of 2015, they once again attempted to restore faith to their fans with Halo 5, but that too was a disappoint to fans.   It had a lackluster story and featured a marketing campaign that was borderline false advertising.

However, it looks like 343 got it right this time with Halo Wars 2. A spin-off real time strategy (RTS) series based off of the lore from the mainline first-person-shooter (FPS) Halo games. The game was co-developed with Creative Assembly, a team mostly known for the well-received RTS Total War series. It is often difficult to make RTS games work on consoles compared to PC. The controls are simply much more difficult with a controller compared to a keyboard and mouse. But unlike previous failed attempts in other games, Halo Wars 2 seems to have found how to make it a seamless transition.

The game also features 12 separate single player campaign missions that can be played on four different difficulty levels. Depending on the difficulty, the campaign can take anywhere from six to 12 hours, maybe even more on the higher difficulty levels. In many games the campaign is simply an elongated tutorial, however, that is not the case in Halo Wars 2. There’s a relatively sound storyline that features an interesting antagonist to fight against the USMC. While some of the voice-overs and dialogue are simply throwaway lines at times, the cinematic cutscenes practically brings the story to life. The scenes were put together by Blur Studio, best known for working on the space scenes in Avatar and remastering the cutscenes for the Halo 2 anniversary edition in the Master Chief Collection.

Lastly there’s multiplayer, at the time this review is being written, the game has not had a full release so the servers have not been truly tested. For those with early access, the game seems to have steady online play as of right now. Because of the debacle that was the Master Chief Collection, fans have a right to be skeptical of online play. However that is where this game may shine apart from the traditional skirmish battles, where players can fight one on one or team up with friends. There is also a new card based game know as blitz, where it is a combination of luck and skill. It is a fast based game on domination, where you can choose to battle one on one or up to three versus three.

In 2009, Halo Wars was viewed as a one-time spinoff and nothing more. However, it looks as though Microsoft may have something here with the sequel. The only way to know if this becomes a legitimate series is based on sales numbers. Microsoft barely attributed any of its marketing budget to this game, however, it was a strange way to attempt to support one of their exclusives.

Microsoft has also cancelled some of the series more anticipated exclusives in 2016, so it is tough to imagine them continuing that trend in 2017 if they hope to build their platform. All in all, Halo Wars 2 is a great RTS game that does its best to summit itself as a legitimate series going forward.

Jon Leible Leaves Blue Devils Football Program

by Dillon Meehan

Central Connecticut’s offensive line coach Jon Leible has left the program.

The Recorder originally broke the story Monday afternoon and the report was later confirmed by CCSU head coach Peter Rossomando.

“We talked at the end of the season and he really wanted a different experience in coaching. He hasn’t had any other experiences under me,” said Rossomando about Leible’s departure.

According to the source, Rossomando made the announcement to the team this past week.

Rossomando confirmed that Leible and the school had a mutual parting of ways and Rossomando expects him to take another job in the future.

“He’s got a couple things in the works right now that I’m helping him with,” Rossomando added.

Rossomando is currently working as the interim offensive line coach until a new coach is brought in.  However it likely will only be for a short period.

“We’re gonna hire somebody. Hopefully we’ll have someone in the next two weeks,” said Rossomando on the hiring process.

It was a disappointing season for the Blue Devils, who finished 2-9 and 1-5 in NEC play. The Blue Devils were hoping to build on a promising 2015 season that saw them go 4-7 and 3-3 in conference and were in contention for the conference title.

Last season saw the Blue Devils switch up their offensive play calling. In 2015, the team relied heavily on the run game, averaging 130.2 yards per game and only 161.6 pass yards per game. This was mostly due to the Blue Devils relying on a two-quarterback system between freshman quarterbacks Jacob Dolegala and Tavion Pauldo. In split time, Dolegala threw for 1,021 yards, completing 54 percent of his passes while throwing 4 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

Following Pauldo’s transfer away from the team in the spring of 2016, Dolegala took over as the starter. As the lone starter, he nearly quadrupled his yardage output, throwing for 4,000 yards, while competing 59.7 percent of his passes as well as 15 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions.

As a team, the Blue Devils saw their rushing yards per game decrease from 130.2 to 91.4 and their passing yards per game increase from 161.6 to 267.2. Apart from the drastic differences, starting running back Cameron Nash saw his average yards per carry decrease in 2016, falling from 5.7 yards per carry to 4.2.

Follow The Recorder on social media for updates on the hiring process.

Blue Devil Men’s Basketball Drop Second in A Row

By Kyle Flynn

Not only was it their final home game of the season, but it was also Senior Night for the Sacred Heart Pioneers this past Feb. 9.  The emotion and chemistry this team played with when it was their last time in a place they hold dearly to their heart, is unmatched. Sacred Heart (12-15, 7-7 NEC) defeated Central Connecticut (5-20, 3-11 NEC) by a final score of 74-57.

Three Blue Devils scored in double figures led by 14-points by Mustafa Jones. Austin Nehls and Khalen Cumberlander finished with 12 a piece. Sacred Heart also had three players finish with double figure scoring including Sean Hoehn, who led all scorers in the game with 17 points.

The Pioneers defeated the Blue Devils back on Jan. 5 in a 64-62 thriller. The first time around CCSU was looking for revenge, hoping to avoid a loss on their second game, only three short days after losing their matchup with Fairleigh Dickinson on Tuesday night.

The Blue Devils got off to a five-point lead early on in the game, including 10 points in the first six minutes of the game. But CCSU eventually went cold, scoring just eight points in a span that lasted just about 10 minutes. CCSU attempted to recover, going on a 10-4 run to close out the half. The Pioneers had built a double-digit lead, but that nice run before halftime brought Central within nine.

Central would score the first five points of the second half and it looked to be a great finish, but that is as close as they would ever get to winning the game. Neither team played any better or worse than they did in the first half, and that was bad news for the Blue Devils.

The nine-point halftime deficit quickly built to 18 and that was all she wrote.  Sacred Heart only made two more shots (same number of attempts) and one more free throw overall (one more attempt), but the game came down to the three-point shot. CCSU finished the game making only three total three-point shots out of 12, a percentage of just 25, while Sacred Heart hit 13 of their 23 three-point tries. 10 more made threes ends up being a 30 point difference in scoring, and it killed CCSU’s chances of winning the game.

The Blue Devils play Saint Francis, Robert Morris and Saint Francis-Brooklyn all at home court, before finishing the regular season on the road at Bryant.

The NEC postseason tournament starts soon after that on March 3, but if the Blue Devils who drop to  will likely need to win all four of their remaining games. The NEC has 10 teams and only eight make the conference tournament; CCSU is sitting alone in ninth place right now. Fans can come out and support them in their efforts to make the tournament, on Feb. 16, 18, and on senior night, Feb. 23.

Premier League Recap Week 24

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action included a showdown between two London powerhouses, and a surprising upset by one of the league’s top teams. The defending champions also fell to defeat, continuing their poor form.

Chelsea continued their impressive run and kept their comfortable lead at the top of the table, with their 3-1 victory against Arsenal on Saturday. It was the Gunner’s second straight loss, and the Blues’ third victory in the past four matches.

The home side cut through Arsenal’s defense the entire match. Chelsea got on the board in the 13th minute. A cross into the center of the box found forward Diego Costa. Costa headed the ball towards the goal, but Arsenal goalkeeper Cech rose and blocked it.

Chelsea midfielder Marcos Alonso took advantage of the open space, and headed the deflection into the left side of the net. It was Alonso’s fourth Premier League goal of the season. Belgium international Eden Hazard, scored the most impressive goal of the match in the 53rd minute. Defender David Luiz disrupted a pass intended for the Arsenal offense, and passed up to midfield where Hazard gained possession.

The striker ran alone into the Gunner’s box, where he scored the short-range goal. The superb play was successful thanks to his creative dribbling; he shook at least four defenders on the run. It was Hazard’s 10th goal of the season. He has already surpassed his goal total of four from last season. The Blues’ last score came in the 85th minute thanks to a goalkeeping mistake by Arsenal. Cech gained possession and passed back towards the Arsenal defense. Midfielder Cesc Fabregas, broke up the pass and struck goal with a high strike into the wide-open net. It was the substitute’s second goal of the season.

Arsenal only scored one goal, but had plenty of opportunities. They led Chelsea in possession (58 percent – 42 percent) and took two more corner kicks. Danny Welbeck almost scored off a cross in the 78th minute, but it was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois. Arsenal’s lone goal came in stoppage time. Forward Olivier Giroud scored on a header into the left side of the box. It was his eight goal of the season.

Chelsea is still in the driver’s seat to win the title. They are currently nine points ahead of second-place Tottenham, and 10 ahead of third-place Manchester City. Their midfield has continued to play well with their strikers, giving them plenty of goal opportunities. Diego Costa is currently tied for second place in league goals with 15. Their next match is on Sunday against Burnley, who currently sits at 12th in the league table.

Following the defeat, Arsenal fell to fourth in the table, two points behind City with 47. They have allowed five goals in the last two matches. They still have slim title chances. Forward Alexis Sanchez has 15 goals on the season. They do not have as tough a test next week as they play 13th-place Southampton.

Arsenal was not the only top club to lose ground in the title race. Liverpool fell 0-2 at Hull City on Saturday. It was the Reds’ second loss in their last five. The result was Hull’s first win since Jan. 14, and helped them with their climb outside of the relegation zone.

Hull was outplayed in every offensive category by Liverpool, including possession and total shots. The Tigers’ first goal came just before halftime in the 44th minute. Loan player Alfred N’Diaye scored a short-range goal, following a block by Liverpool keeper Mignolet. It was the Senegal international’s first career Premier League goal. The midfielder is currently on loan from Spanish club Villarreal CF. Forward Oumar Niasse scored Hull’s second goal in the 84th minute. He ran past two defenders and struck goal with a low strike. It was Niasse’s first career Premier League goal. He is currently on loan from Everton.

Liverpool’s best goal opportunity came in the 56th minute. Forward Sadio Mane met a cross and attempted a header on goal, but it was saved by Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. The Reds’ could not score on any of their 15 corner opportunities. Hull only had one corner kick.

If Liverpool would like to make a comeback, they need to play better against lower-half teams. They recently lost to Swansea City, who sits at 17th in the table. If they continue their poor form, it will allow someone like Manchester United to gain spots. The Reds fell to fifth in the table and are just one point ahead of United. They face a tough test on Saturday, when they host second-place Tottenham who have won three of their last five.

Hull is an interesting team to look out for down the stretch. They drew against United last week. Their new loan players N’Diaye and Niasse have gotten off to hot starts. If they can continue this form, they can gain at least a few spots.

The three teams in front of them are only ahead by one point. The Tigers need to act soon, or they will be relegated. They face a tough test on Saturday at the Emirates against Arsenal.

Hartford Vying For NHL Team In Recent Letter

By Nicholas Leahey

Connecticut hockey fans, once again, were buzzing Friday after Governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford Mayor, Luke Bronin, co-signed an open letter to the New York Islanders. They were given an invitation to play in Hartford’s XL Center while they look for a new home after the 2017-18 season.

The letter, which set off a firestorm on social media, has been the latest turn of events. A series of reports have stated that the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn will be terminating their contract with the Islanders after next season, due to financial reasons. It has also given Connecticut hockey fans hope that the National Hockey League may one day return to Hartford.

In the letter, which was addressed to the team’s owner Jon Ledecky, Charles Wang, and Scott Malkin, Governor Malloy and Mayor Bronin reference Connecticut’s current market size and large hockey fan base, to explain why the NHL should return to Hartford. Both politicians offered the XL Center as an option for interim use, while also suggesting the building as “a long-term solution” for the team.

Specifically, the letter explains that the Hartford NHL Market offers more Fortune 500 companies than most other NHL cities, including Columbus, Raleigh, Buffalo and Nashville. It also states that 1.2 million people live within a 30-minute drive of Hartford, while 3.1 million live within a 60-minute drive.

It continues to explain how Hartford’s fan base “is still ranked as one of the NHL’s most energetic”, and acknowledges that the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate is in nearby Bridgeport, allowing for easy access.

In response to the letter, the Islanders issued a statement via tweets from Jim Baumbach of Newsday Friday night, saying “The public letter that the Connecticut Governor’s office released earlier today was the first we had heard of the news … We are thrilled to be playing this season in front of our passionate New York Islanders fan base at Barclays Center, with the goal of making the playoffs. We look forward to another great year of New York Islanders hockey at Barclays Center next season.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, has not publicly commented on the letter, but stated during the NHL All Star Game on Jan. 29. that the Islanders are “committed to New York and the great fan base that has followed the Islanders.” Historically, Bettman has not expressed interest in the Hartford market as the NHL has expanded.

The NHL has not played in Hartford since the Hartford Whalers left in April of 1997, after 17 years of playing in the Connecticut capital. While there have been attempts to attract an NHL team to Hartford, the Governor’s letter marks the latest effort – especially as Hartford moves forward with plans to renovate the XL Center.

In the last paragraph of Malloy and Bronin’s letter, they outline current renovations which are taking place, including the installation of a new ice surface and dasher boards.

The same paragraph of the letter also references Hartford’s current $250 million proposal to renovate the 16,294-seat XL Center. The recent $35 million renovations would add more premium seating in the lower bowl, a second concourse, and a seating increase of roughly 3,000 – large enough, officials say, to house an NHL team.

Free Throw Shooting Bites Blue Devils in 70-60 Loss to Wagner

by Daniel Bates

Central Connecticut men’s basketball team season-long struggles, flourished once again as they fell to Wagner, 70-60, in a Northeast Conference battle . The Blue Devils sported three players in double-figures, but still came up short against the NEC’s number one defense on Thursday night.

The Blue Devils’ (4-18, 2-9 NEC) struggles came from the free throw line, converting only 14 of their 28 chances at the stripe (50 percent).

“It was a close game in calls and fouls,” said CCSU head coach Donyell Marshall. “Last game they had 16 offensive rebounds, today they only had 10, we had 13. At the end of the day it’s free throws.”

Wagner (11-11, 7-5 NEC) came out of the gates early with an 8-2 run to start the game, capped by Corey Henson’s three-pointer, before the Blue Devils would respond with a 10-0 run of their own to take their first lead.

Freshman Tyson Batiste, got things started with a layup to open up the run, capped by senior Khalen Cumberlander’s buzzer-beating three-pointer, as the shot clock expired to put the Blue Devils up 17-12 with 9:52 to go in the first.

The Seahawks took an eight-point lead heading into intermission, 35-27, propelled by a late 13-4 push in the closing minutes of the half. Henson led the charge with six points, including four straight.

But CCSU rallied to cut the lead to 35-32 on sophomore Austin Nehls three-pointer, just minutes into the second half. Michael Carey kick-started the Wagner offense with a pair of free throws. This would be as close as the Blue Devils would get, as Wagner rolled the rest of the way to a victory.

Nehls scored 17 points to the lead the Blue Devils, who hit just 20 of 53 shots from the field but were 6-18 from beyond the arc. Cumberlander added 14 points, and junior Mustafa Jones had 12 points and seven rebounds. Senior Tafari Whittingham cleaned up nine boards to lead the team and match a career high.

Carey had 19 points on eight of 12 shots from the field and grabbed six rebounds to lead Wagner (10-11, 6-5). Henson contributed 13 points as the team shot a collective 22 of 49 from the field (44.9 percent), including four of 14 from deep, and converted 22 of 28 chances at the free throw line.

The Blue Devils kicked off a three game road trip with a win on Saturday, as they beat Mount St. Mary’s 54-52.  With the win, they look to make a late push for the NEC tournament.

“Everything we’ve been through, 13-game losing streak, starting out 0-7 [in conference], this league is so crazy,” Marshall said. “We’re a game out of the eight spot, but truly we’re only three games out of the four spot. Anything can happen.”