Men’s Basketball Wins Dramatic Home Opener

by Patrick Gustavson

Following a 1-3 start on the road that saw Central Connecticut’s men’s basketball team lose two heartbreakers, the team returned to Detrick Gymnasium for their home opener, that saw them defeat Coppin State by the score of 74-71, in overtime.

The Blue Devils had a lot of momentum coming off a game in which they beat East Carolina by 11 points. The Pirates are a member of the American Athletic Conference, a conference with much higher regards than the Northeast, making it the biggest win for CCSU in years.

Acting head coach Mike Witcoskie believes the momentum acted as a detriment to his team in the early minutes. “For this game, it probably hurt us a little bit. They (Coppin State) were ready to go, they were thinking ‘hey, we’re going to beat the team that just beat ECU.’”

The Blue Devils got off to a slow start in the opening minutes, which saw the Eagles go on an 18-0 run, putting them ahead by 13 after just seven minutes of play. But the team did pull things together a bit to end the half, only trailing by five.

Struggles continued for the team in the second half, down by 10 points following the under eight-minute timeout. “Coach Wit (Witcoskie) told us to keep playing defense, keep getting stops. That was they key to winning, the stops we got down the stretch,” said junior guard Tyler Kohl.

Down 58-51 with under five minutes remaining, the Blue Devils stormed back by blocking shots and forcing turnovers on defense, as well as converting on their high-percentage shot opportunities. They took their first lead of the second half when senior forward Mustafa Jones threw down an emphatic dunk, bringing the crowd to their feet, now up 59-58.

Following some back and forth scoring, the game was tied at 62 with just a minute left to play. Guard Austin Nehls nearly won it for the Blue Devils at the buzzer, but his three-point attempt just rimmed out, sending the game into overtime.

Kohl dominated the overtime period for the Blue Devils, scoring six of his 19 points in the five-minute period. This contributed to the first double-double of his Blue Devil career (he also had 10 rebounds).

Reigning NEC player of the week Deion Bute continued his strong showings with 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench in just eight minutes. Forward Joe Hugley also contributed with 15 points and six rebounds. Jones also reached double figures, with 10 points of his own.

The Blue Devils were without sophomore starting point guard Tyson Batiste for the second straight game. However, his teammates picked up the load in his absence, facilitating 15 assists, with four coming from junior guard Eric Bowles, and Kohl, respectively.

Witcoskie stills feels there are areas for the team to improve, saying: “we have a lot of growing up to do; handling success. This is a part of the growing pains, but you’d much rather win in the growing pains than lose, so we’ll use this as another learning experience.”

“First, we need to get these guys to realize the potential we have, and then it’s a quest to reach it. And we’ll have to overcome some obstacles. Part of it is learning to be successful day in and day out, and handling our business in a professional manner. And those things will get there. There’s always bumps in the road, it’s not going to be easy, and we need to attack it every single day,” he continued.

The Blue Devils head to Cleveland State on Friday, before returning home to take on North Carolina A&T on Thursday, Nov. 30. They still have eight games remaining before they enter Northeast Conference play.

Two Football Players Suspended For Playoff Game

by Tyler Roaix

The Central Connecticut football team will be playing the school’s first ever FCS playoff game this Saturday without two of its players.

Starting quarterback Jacob Dolegala and reserve offensive lineman David Cinti were suspended Monday by head coach Pete Rossomando for “violation of team policy.”

The official statement from the school is as follows:

“Central Connecticut State University officials have announced that CCSU Blue Devil Head Football Coach Pete Rossomando suspended football players Jacob Dolegala (quarterback) and David Cinti (offensive lineman) for one game for violation of team policy. They will be unavailable for any team activities this week, including the football game against the University of New Hampshire in the first round of the FCS Playoffs, scheduled for Saturday, November 25.”

CCSU Police reported to the house at 1497 Stanley St. around midnight Sunday morning as a result of a disturbance on the front lawn, only to discover a large house party going on inside.

Sergeant Jerry Erwin, one of the responding officers, was not sure what the disturbance on the lawn was. He suggested that the party “got out of hand” and that, even if they were trying to clear out the house, they should have contacted CCSU Police for help. That way, no charges would have been brought against them.

Police broke up the party and ensured that no one was in need of any medical assistance.

Dolegala, Cinti, Nathan Chzanowski and Edward Arthur Ouimet were all charged with second degree breach of peace. They also received misdemeanor summons to appear in court, which has a set date of Dec. 1.

Chzanowski and Ouimet are not members of the football team. The four are co-leases, which is why they were the only ones charged. The breach of peace charge is typical for hosting a house party, according to Erwin.

The incident comes on the heels of a similar situation that involved four other players in September.

Sophomore Tanner Kingsley will start at quarterback, in Dolegala’s place, in arguably the biggest game in school history. Kingsley has just nine completions for 55 yards in 2017.

Central is going into the playoffs on an eight game winning streak. They will have to rely on a strong running game and improved defense if they want to keep their success going.

 

 

Women Drop First Two

by Kyle Flynn

The Central Connecticut State Women’s basketball team started off their new campaign against big-conference opponents with match-ups at West Virginia University and the University of Virginia.

The 2017-18 edition of the squad welcomes six new arrivals to accompany the six returning players from last season’s group. The roster features two seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. Junior Kiana Patterson and Senior Brianna Jacobs will be this season’s team captains.

In their first match-up of the new season against 13th ranked West Virginia, Central quickly got off on the wrong foot. The Blue Devils only attempted 12 shots in the first quarter of the game, making just five of them while turning the ball over seven times. Zero steals and zero offensive rebounds kept the advantage in the Mountaineers’ favor.

West Virginia shot 13-25 in the quarter and did not turn the ball over once. Seven offensive boards kept possessions alive, and WVU took full advantage as they finished the first quarter of the game with a 30-13 lead.

The rest of the game was better defensively for the Blue Devils, as they slowed the scoring pace of the Mountaineers down by three points each quarter. The problem was that the Mountaineers were consistently locking down the Blue Devils.

In the second quarter, CCSU shot 27 percent from the field while the Mountaineers hit 58 percent of the shots they took in the period, getting everything they wanted and more. Central did manage to hit 6-7 at the free throw stripe to keep their pace at 13 points scored per quarter.

The second half of the game was more of the same for the Blue Devils. The last three quarters almost mirrored each other as the Blue Devils shot 27 percent from the field in each. The first quarter looked to be their best of the game and yet, they were still outscored by 17. The Blue Devils fell in their first game of the season, 102-52. Kiana Patterson led the way with 14 points.

The second matchup of the season came this time in Charlottesville, Virginia. The only difference in the two games was the defensive consistency from the opposition. Both teams played great defense throughout the games, but the University of Virginia defense was not as consistent in each quarter of the game. For example, in quarter two, the Blue Devils shot 50 percent, something they never did against WVU.

Yet in the third quarter, CCSU shot a whopping 9 percent making just one of 11 shots, turning the ball over nine times and scoring just seven points. The shooting percentages from the Blue Devils in each quarter were 25, 50, 9 and 41. CCSU turned the ball over 22 times to UVA’s nine. CCSU was also outscored in the paint 46-4 and 10-2 on the fast break.

These early match-ups with big time programs will not necessarily represent how the Blue Devil women will succeed this season, as they look to win the NEC title once conference play comes around starting Dec. 29 vs. Mount Saint Mary’s. The Blue Devils play their first home game Nov. 16. vs. Brown before going back on the road to face the Penn State Nittany Lions.

No Need to Worry, Cavaliers Fans

by Evan Sobol 

A quick glance at the NBA Eastern Conference standings would take many basketball fans by surprise. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who have won the conference the past three years and won a Championship in 2016, sit at ninth in the standings.

The departure of star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics was definitely a tough pill to swallow for the Cavs, but many think the team got even better in the offseason. They acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder and a 2018 Nets’ first round pick in the trade. Cleveland also signed veteran point guard Derrick Rose and LeBron’s best friend, Dwyane Wade, to one-year deals. The roster is almost entirely different from last season, but it is bolstered by veteran players who have already proved themselves in the league.

Through 13 games, the Cavaliers are 6-7. Derrick Rose has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and could miss more time. This puts the Cavs in a tough spot because they do not have a true starter at the point guard position. Thomas has been injured since last season and will be out for almost another two months. According to CBS Sports, the team will have him return in January.

Dwyane Wade has not played like himself lately. This season he is totaling just 8.5 points-per-game, much less than his career line of 23. He has been playing a lower amount of minutes, possibly to stay fresh for the later part of the season.

Although the Cavs have issues across the board, they should still make it into the playoffs with ease. It is only November. Games do not usually matter until late December. LeBron James is also playing very well. He is currently putting up 28.5 points-per-game and has 8.5 assists per game. James has also proved himself this season at the point guard position. He started at the point on Oct. 24. against the Bulls and recorded 34 points and 13 assists in the 119-112 victory. It is possible he could see more starts at the position if Rose’s injury struggles continue. We can’t not forget that LeBron has been to the Finals each of the last seven seasons.

The East is also still a very tight conference. Just two teams have at least 10 wins so far. The Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and New York Knicks are in front of the Cavs right now, but neither team has made the playoffs in the last four years. It would be a surprise if their success continues. The Sixers have a talented young squad but lack experience. Orlando has been playing well, thanks to accurate 3-point shooting but lack experience as well. The Knicks have been led by Kristaps Porzinigis and his 30.4 PPG, but it will be tough for his scoring success to continue. The team also does not have reliable options at point guard.

Down the stretch, I think the Cavs will finish in the top four of the Eastern Conference. The return of Isaiah Thomas will provide the team with more scoring opportunities. Wade should play better down the stretch with increased minutes. No need to worry, Cavs fans.

CCSU Is The Perfect Community For DACA Students

by Cindy Pena

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, along with other institutions nationwide, are challenging the possible elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by signing on to an amicus brief that supports the lawsuit filed by the University of California against the Trump administration.

The lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security claims the actions to rescind DACA are not abiding the constitutional rights of the university and students.

CSCU and the University of Connecticut signed on to support the lawsuit because they believe the elimination of DACA will hurt students and campuses by forcing them to leave, according to UConn Today.

“The fundamental responsibility of a public education institution is to foster learning, innovation and strong communities to any student willing to put in the work to learn and achieve. We have and will continue to fight for DACA students in our CSCU community,” Mark Ojakian, president of the CSCU system, said in a written statement.

So what does this pledge by CSCU mean to the students at Central Connecticut State University?

At CCSU, there are students under DACA. This pledge gives these students a sense of security. It shows that, although not everyone may be on your side, CSCU and CCSU is.

CCSU has hosted many events in support of these students and their families who are on verge of deportation. For example, a rally was held shortly after the announcement of the ending of DACA.

The rally held by the student organization, CHANGE, aimed to support and raise awareness on the undocumented community on campus and around the U.S. by sharing stories of DACA recipients and students whose parents are facing deportation.

During the rally, Ojakian and CCSU President Dr. Zulma Toro publicly expressed their support to these students.

“How is what is happening in Washington humane? How is telling people one day, maybe in a tweet to begin with, that they are no longer welcomed in the country that they call home? That they are going to be forced, perhaps, to leave our country, to give up their education, to give up their jobs and go back to places that they never lived before. How is that humane?” Ojakian asked. “The stronger we can come together, the better we can make sure that what is being proposed does not happen.”

“Let me tell you with no hesitation that you have my full support,” Toro said at the rally.

Making that public proclamation by telling these students that they are welcomed at CCSU, despite their legal status, is a major step towards change.

Further, by taking the legal action and signing on to the amicus brief shows that Ojakian’s proclamation of support in the rally and those written statements were not just words, they were the beginning of future actions.

Although the future of DACA is not certain, we can hope by these important figures standing up for the undocumented community, it can prompt legislative change on the federal level and fix the broken immigration system.