The Blue Devils’ Men’s Basketball team lost its fourth straight match-up on Thursday night, falling to La Salle 85-59 for their first home loss of the season.
“That was a good team out there,” Head Coach Howie Dickenman said. “We had the opportunity to face a good Atlantic-10 team, and I think they’re the best in the A-10.”
CCSU (5-6, 2-0 NEC) knew it had a tough opponent in the Explorers (8-4, 0-0 Atlantic-10), but as everyone noted in the pregame warmups, they would have to face them without their best player, Kenny Horton, who had injured his ankle in practice just a few hours prior to the game. La Salle lost by just seven points to Villanova, and by just four points to Pittsburgh, who are both big programs.
The Blue Devils have seemingly been bitten by the injury bug lately, as they are also without De’Angelo Speech, Shelton Mickell, and Justin Alexander.
“[La Salle] Coach Giannini came up to me after the game and said ‘I’m sorry your best player didn’t play,'” Dickenman said. “But, our focus is to get these guys ready for league play.”
The Blue Devils fell behind early, with the Explorers going on a quick 7-0 run in the first minute and 42 seconds of the game. CCSU would fall behind by double digits with 14:18left in the half, as the Blue Devils had 2 turnovers and 7 missed shots.
As the half continued, so did CCSU’s struggles. It took them nine minutes to break into double digits, but they were already down 26-11 at that point. The abysmal first half would end with La Salle leading by 30 points and not a single CCSU player was in double figures.
“At the half, I didn’t make up any crazy stories about doing this or that and go out there and win the game,” Dickenman said. “I told them that I wanted them to go out there and beat them in the second half, to start over with it being zero to zero.”
The Blue Devils did just that, beating the Explorers 37-33 in the second half. They were led by Kyle Vinales, who had 11 points in the second half, and Robby Ptacek, who added 10 points. Both players would finish with 16 and 14, respectively. Adonis Burbage also added 14 points, while David Simmons contributed 9 points off the bench.
The 26 point margin of victory was the worst that CCSU has seen at home since January 14th, 2010, when the Blue Devils fell by 31 points to Quinnipiac.
The Blue Devils won’t play a game until December 30th at UMass, who they beat 92-63 last year at home. The game against the Minutemen will be their final out of conference match up, as league play will start up again on January 5th versus St. Francis (PA.)
As for Kenny Horton, Coach Dickenman said he would be “shocked” if he wasn’t back for the UMass game.