You know how Howie Dickenman talks about free throws almost constantly? That's why. The Blue Devils storm back with one of the gutty efforts of the year, build a lead in overtime, but can't seal the deal at the line.

In two of the last three losses, Central has suffered from a drought at a key time. Late against LIU, then OT tonight.

What does it mean? A few things. First, I'm no longer convinced CCSU can avoid a play-in game if it wins the NEC. But, of course, that is premature if Central doesn't win the NEC. First place is not lost, but Central now has to run the table and have Wagner beat LIU. I suppose the Blackbirds could lose at the Mount as well, but the Blue Devils have lost their margin for error on their end. Now they MUST beat Quinnipiac at home to have any chance at the one seed.

The season, however, isn't lost if Central winds up the two. If the Devils can take care of business at home and at least get that done, then they'd have a good chance to win two games at home and end up in the finals somewhere. If I told you before the year Central was in the NEC title game, you wouldn't have cared if the game was at home, at LIU or on the moon.
But of course, the task will be to get there. Central now will likely have a tougher semifinal game at home. The question is do the Devils win it and set up that final, or expend all their energy getting to that point and falling just short of the finals, like what happened in 2006.

If that is this team's fate, look at it this way: That year set up 2007, and this team will still be plenty loaded for next year. But to be clear, I'm NOT writing off this season by any means. Just saying that things got much tougher after tonight.

Let's take a little more in-depth look at how we got here. Time to play man-to-man.

Shemik Thompson: If Central had held on late, we'd be talking about how clutch the captain was. After a rough start, he made five threes in the second half and forced overtime with a dagger. Seven boards show how active he was, too. He was outside too much to get to the line, but you can't fault the overall effort.

Devan Bailey: This time Frankie Dobbs went off a bit. Bailey was also 0-for-5 from the floor, and had just one assist. An all-around off day in a game that saw a lot of those.

Robby Ptacek: His foot is really bugging him, but he's back to struggling with his shot. Three assists and one turnover, so not a horrible night, but Central needs him to score.

Chris Baskerville: When your biggest number is your turnovers, that's a problem.

Ken Horton: Missed a three with Central down 1 late in OT, but are the Blue Devils anywhere near the end of OT without him? 27 points, 16 rebounds. Probably went a little heavy on the threes when the twos were going in at will, but my goodness this kid is special. If he improves next year? Yikes.

Vince Rosario: One shot, one miss.

De'Angelo Speech: Two free throws don't determine a 45-minute game, but if he'd made those 2, Central is up six with less than 2 minutes left. Still, a solid defensive night and no turnovers to go with four rebounds. But four missed free throws total were huge.

Joe Efese: Hard to make much of five minutes.

Terrell Allen: 9 points, five boards, got to the line, made his freebies save for one. His best game probably as a Blue Devil.

Justin Alexander: Maybe it's starting to come. Maybe.

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