Albany wrap up

Here we go again.
Two years ago Central lost at Albany at the buzzer after wipiing out a huge second-half deficit. I wrote an impassioned blog that night about how unfair the game can be, as Central had lost at the buzzer for the second consecutive game. My position was, you come from 18 down in the second half on the road, you deserve to win the game.
It's amazing, scary really, how similar last night was to 2008. Central came to Albany coming off a loss at the buzzer in its previous game (though this time it was CCSU's miss, not the opponent's make at the end). Central trailed by 18 in the second half (seriously, the exact same deficit). Last time, Central rallied to take a four-point lead with less than a minute left. This time, the Blue Devils stormed back to take a three-point lead with just over two minutes left. The final that night was 68-67. The final this time was 64-63.
I give you this last similarity not to pick on one player, but just to drive home the EERIE similarities between the last two times Central has been to Albany: Last time, Robby Ptacek, trapped in the corner, committed a turnover with 8 seconds left, giving Albany its last shot. This time, he committed a turnover, an offensive foul, with four seconds left that gave Albany the free throws that sealed it. Really bizarre stuff.
Anyway, that's where the similarities end. Because the mood after the two games is much different. At least mine is.
Two years ago, I felt bad for the Blue Devils. This time, I have to wonder when Central is going to stop giving games away. Perhaps that phrasing is too harsh, but it's time for Central to step up in critical situations and put a game away. The Blue Devils have lost four straight. The last three have been by 2, 2 and 1. And the fourth game, while eventually a rout, Central led in the second half.
Yes Joe Efese has missed most of that time and Robby Ptacek has been banged up. And in the grand scheme of things, only the FDU loss matters. But Central's psyche likely hangs in the balance here. This could quickly start to spiral if the Blue Devils don't get something resembling a killer instinct and put a game away late. It just seems like the losses are feeding off each other. Remember the team that came back from 10 or more down so often early in the year? Where did it go? And more importantly, when is Central going to stop waiting until it's down 10 to start scoring?
The good news is that Central now comes home for six straight at Detrick, a stretch that could define the season. Maybe the luck they've been missing is waiting for the Devils in New Britain. This is the time when Howie Dickenman has to coach and Shemik Thompson has to lead. It's time for Central to win a close game, and it's time to get the spirit back before this year becomes too similar to the last couple.
Plenty of time for a few mailbags and a live chat before the 19th. We just have to pick a time for the chat, and you guys need to keep hitting my inbox at to get my answers. It might take me a couple days as we have a million things to do this week in the office, but I'll get to everything.
Let's go man-to-man.

Markeys Deans: He was due for a poor offensive game. Didn't score a ton, but had 3 assists and didn't take too many shots. One turnover, which he made up for with a steal. A so-so night.

Ken Horton: Picked it up in the second half, was efficient, led the team in rebounding and had a block. Showed signs of becoming the go-to-guy again. But Central needs more than flashes of the old Kenny. The Blue Devils need Kenny.

Shemik Thompson: The big part of the year is coming, it's time for the leader to start making shots. His turnovers were down, however, just three in 30 minutes.

Devan Bailey: All year I've talked about how he has at worst given Central a bunch of minutes without hurting the team. This time, he had a technical foul that hurt the team. Albany made one of 2 at the line. Central lost by one. Not saying that one play was the difference, but it sure didn't help. Four turnovers, too. Not a good night.

Robby Ptacek: I really hated mentioning the turnover earlier because he was so good. 26 points, aggressive, got to the line and made his free throws.

De'Angelo Speech: Still making a few too many mistakes, but he's being asked to do a lot for a freshman. His energy is still a plus for this team I feel.

Joe Efese: Only played three minutes, but had a block. The question is when can he play more?

Chris Baskerville: As one of my favorite high school coaches says, "zeroes across the board." Seriously, there are 15 different places on the stat sheet in front of me in which a player can put up a number, and in this case they're all 0's. I'm not even picking on him, because he only played three minutes, but it's still odd to see.

Terrell Allen: All zeros except for a foul. Not good, but again, only six minutes. Dickenman went with a short bench tonight.

Justin Alexander: Got in for 40 seconds. It's a start. Everyone tells me he's going to be a player someday, so let him get his feet wet.

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