Free throws have a cost when you don't make them.

Central missed out on a chance at the two-seed (barring a lot of help) and gave Quinnipiac all the confidence in the world heading into a potential third meeting in a couple of weeks. And the Devils did it all by missing free throw after free throw.

Is the season over? No. Central's likely still going to get at least one home game (though now the game at SFNY becomes monumentally big) and probably will only have to take a short bus ride to get to its semifinal game. It's hard to beat a team three times in one year, and if CCSU can get one from its big rival, then all of the sudden it's in the finals.

There are two people I feel badly for, and we'll get to that in a minute. Everyone else, well, they didn't get it done tonight. No ifs, and or buts about it. You have to give CCSU credit for storming back from 10 down, but that's about it.

One last point: Do not blame the officials for this game one bit. Were they bad? Yes. Horrific. But they stunk on both ends of the floor. And because CCSU was driving more, it took 20-something more free throws on the night. Most importantly, they were consistent. Howie Dickenman said it after the game, and he's right: a coach or player doesn't care if the game is called tight or loose, as long as it's called the same way at both ends and for 40 minutes. For the most part, it was.

Was Shemik Thompson fouled by Justin Rutty as he tried to get the putback to go down at the buzzer? Yup. He was also elbowed (accidentally) when he went to the ground before calling time with seven ticks left. But if you're relying on a call in the final 10 seconds to bail you out, you don't deserve to win.

Blame the refs for ruining the flow of what was, when they played, a fantastic game between two good teams. But don't blame them for the loss. And give Tom Moore credit for mixing and matching his rotations beautifully with a full roster of players in foul trouble. the Bobcats are deep, but Moore guided his team to the finish line.

Let's play what will be for Blue Devil fans the toughest man-to-man of the season.

Shemik Thompson: One of the two players I feel sick for. On his special day, he just didn't have it. Five assists and one turnover is a nice ratio, but he just couldn't make a shot. 3 of 9 at the line. Wow. I hope for the sake of one of the nicest kids I've ever covered, Thompson is remembered for the last four years and not just this game.

Devan Bailey: Was in foul trouble and didn't have much of a line, but it was better than Thursday's stinker.

Robby Ptacek: 2-for-10, but I love the way he attacked the boards late. He's good at finding other ways to help out.

Chris Baskerville: Only 10 minutes because of how well someone we'll talk about in a minute played.

Ken Horton: The other person I feel bad for. If he had made that last one, the roof would have been blown off. Still, it was a virtuoso performancA and deserving of better. If he had stolen the game, it would have gone down to one of the best games in CCSU history. It still might have been. 35 and 9 with four blocks and 2 steals.
I also love the added emotion he has played with lately. He just needs to make sure he uses it the right way. When he made the and-1 with a couple minutes left and announced that Detrick Gym was "my court", that was OK. The tech, where he taunted was not, especially in such a close game.
Still, I remember writing two years ago that when he developed a mean streak, he would be unstoppable. Well guess what? "Ticked off Kenny" has emerged, and if you play for the other team, you won't like Kenny when he's angry.
At some point about 6 weeks ago something clicked and Ken Horton figured out how good he was. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Vince Rosario: Next year he's going to have to be a consistent bench guy.

De'Angelo Speech: I was going to say he was one of the few guys I can't say too much bad about, then I was reminded he had 3 turnovers.

Joe Efese: 4 turnovers is a problem but his offense is back. The most interesting sequence of the night was when Efese missed a hook shot after a pretty spin move, then Rutty went down the other end and just bulllrushed everyone and layed it in. Sometimes it's substance over style.

Terrell Allen: Look, he hasn't gone on a tear like Efese did last year, but he is clearly starting to find his legs. I think he's going to be a good reserve next year.

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