CCSU men vs. Monmouth wrap up

Wow. Pick a negative word and it applies. Awful. Embarrasing. Terrible. They all work.
Too often this year CCSU has played down to its competition. Usually, the Blue Devils have gotten away with it. Tonight they did not.
A bad, bad, bad, bad loss that could have big repurcussions. Howie Dickenman, who took some shots at himself tonight I will write about for Saturday's paper, needs to find a way to get this team motivated for the not so big games.
I was talking to someone tonight, and I suggested that the two-seed is still possible because I think, having watched this team this year, that CCSU will actually play better when its schedule gets harder.
That said, it's hard not to point out that the Devils should be 7-2 at worst in the league, and probably 8-1.
Let's play a quick game of man-to-man. Note the only encouraging sign from tonight: I'm going to say nice things about the bench guys.

Ken Horton: Raised his game down the stretch, but struggled mightily early. Not sure why he hasn't taken the last shot in either of the last 2 losses. Not saying he'd have hit either one, but if I'm Central, I want the game in the hands of the best player in the league.

Terrell Allen: Got after the offensive glass, but didn't do much else.

Kyle Vinales: Was asked to play some point guard late in the game as CCSU searched for offense. Had a rough night, but his effort was there. He was one of the few who didn't seem half asleep at times.

Malcolm McMillan: Plays defense, made a couple of nice plays on offense. He's a glue guy.

Robby Ptacek: Seemed on the verge of putting it together a couple of times, never quite could.

Adonis Burbage: His numbers don't tell the story of how well he played. A key part of the run that I thought was going to win the game. He's not as good, but he kind of reminds me of Shane Battier.

De'Angelo Speech: I think he needs to play more to shake the rust off.

Joe Efese: I actually thought he did some nice things. He just needs to do more of them.

David Simmons: As long as he's in his comfort zone, the guy doesn't miss. It's almost to the point where they should run stuff for him. Not a lot, but some.

CCSU men vs. Sacred Heart wrap up

The season is not lost, but this was a tough one to swallow for the Blue Devils. It was close all the way, but Central had seemed to take control until the last three minutes, when it picked a terrible time for a drought.
Ken Horton had an amazing game, but didn't take over down the stretch.
As for the last play, I always liked calling a timeout once you get to half court, then setting up a quick-hitter shot for the win. I totally understand the argument of avoiding letting the defense set up, but I'd rather be organized on offense.
Central won't win the NEC unless it either gets consistently strong play from its entire big 3 or enough help from other people to make up for a bad night for one of them. Tonight, it got neither, and still nearly won on the road.
Let's look at how it went down by playing man-to-man.

Ken Horton: 25 and 14 is an amazing night, but I'd still love to see him take the game over more often in the final moments. Still, without his efforts, CCSU loses this one by 20.

Terrell Allen: More fouls than rebounds is never good from a big.

Kyle Vinales: Has gone back to being more than just a shooter, dishing the ball well at times. He's a player, no doubt.

Malcolm McMillan: Not  a stellar night, but the kid battles and plays the whole game on bad shins. The two blocks were a pleasant surprise.

Robby Ptacek: Tried to shoot his way out of it, but just couldn't get on track. Part of me wishes he'd stop shooting when he's that cold, but Central hasn't had enough other players show they can be offensive threats to make that possible. As for the last shot, he did what he could with it.

Adonis Burbage: Not much statistically, but  provided some rest for the starters.

De'Angelo Speech: Still trying to get going again. But being healthy helps.

Joe Efese: Followed up a strong game Thursday with a bit of a stinker Saturday. So goes the enigma that is Joe Efese.

David Simmons: CCSU's centers combined for four points and eight rebounds. Simmons, however, was the best of the bunch tonight.


First off, I'll go back and patch up the Wagner post soon for record keeping purposes and to serve as reminders before the rematch next month.
For now, however, let's take a brief look at tonight's win, a game that was over 10 minutes in. Here's a very quick version of man-to-man.

Ken Horton: His streak of 20 misses form three is over. Tonight's thought? My word, how many points would have be putting up if he hadn't gone cold from outside? A double-double and a crazy dunk. Well, more like a crazy catch. The ball was behind him, and he managed to corral it and get it down.

Terrell Allen: A big part of the emerging 3-headed monster in the middle.

Kyle Vinales: Yes, he shoots alot. But he also had seven assists with no turnovers.

Malcolm McMillan: 10 assists, no turnovers.

Robby Ptacek: A quiet night, but he wasn't needed. Bryant just couldn't do anything about it.

Adonis Burbage: Hit a pair of threes, had a pair of blocks, and ate up some minutes. A nice effort.

Shelton Mickell: At least he's healthy.

De'Angelo Speech: Ditto.

Mark Laporte: His miss probably was the only disappointment of the night for CCSU.

Joe Efese; Played really well. Seems to be taking to the bench role. His spurt late in the first half iced the game.

David Simmons: A big hoop and some energy.

Checking in

Had an exceptionally long night so I'm not going to to a breakdown of the game until Sunday.
For now I'll just say this: Robby Ptacek was great. Kyle Vinales was due for a night like this and Ken Horton deserves a mulligan every once in a while, especially on this night.


I haven't decided yet if I want to give Central a ton of credit for pulling out a tough game on the road or rip the Blue Devils for letting what should have been an easy night become a nail-biter.
My sense is that the truth is somewhere in between. Up double-digits in the second half, the game never should have gotten close again. That said, Central did what it had to do and got a big road win, making the Devils 5-0 heading into the Saturday Showdown with Wagner.

Let's look at this win, which has CCSU 5-0 in the league.

Ken Horton: 3 to tie 4 to break the record if my late-night math is right. As for the game itself, it was a typical Horton night. Shoot better than 50 percent, score 23-plus and grab nine boards. Four turnovers are a bit high and he hasn't made a three in about two weeks, but we're really nitpicking here. Saturday, by the way, would be a nice time to get hot from there.

Terrell Allen: Interesting choice to start. Did some nice things as usual, but I think I like him as an energy guy off the bench.

Kyle Vinales: His hot streak at the end of the first half changed the game and paved the way for the big lead in the second half.

Malcolm McMillan: Tough as nails, smart, but Central needs to get him some rest and soon.

Robby Ptacek: A man who never seems to need rest, he didn't shoot well. He got himself good shots though, which is more than half the battle. Those will fall.

Adonis Burbage: A cup of coffee.

Shelton Mickell: One of two men who need to step up and help ease McMillan's burden, he needs to give Howie Dickenman more reasons to play him.

De'Angelo Speech: Here's the other. With three steals in 11 minutes, it's clear he's close to being a contributor again. My sense is he comes off the bench the rest of the year (and starts next to Malcolm next year), but he will play a big part in the next 13 NEC games. Actually, CCSU hopes it's 16 more.

Joe Efese: If only he could stay out of foul trouble. He's showing huge flashes, he just needs to put it together for 2 consecutive halves, and do it without fouling.

David Simmons: He busts his tail, and Central seems to feed off his energy.


When Central plays defense to match its fantastic offensive potential, watch out.
The best defensive effort of the year gave CCSU a resounding victory over Robert Morris. A great effort by Malcolm McMillan on defense and Robby Ptacek on offense.
Let's play man-to-man.

Joe Efese: 4 rebounds in just 12 minutes of work, but he fits in nicely in the mix of big men Central has.

Ken Horton: 27 to go to the record. I can't remember ever seeing a more efficient scorer. I was talking to Bob Ryan (yeah, I know, I'm sorry, I had to name drop there) about Horton's game and I said, "what's he got, 15?" I looked at the monitor and he had 21 on 11 shots. He gets to the line but steps up when he needs to, and he manages to get it all done while grabbing boards and making sure he doesn't take shots away from Kyle Vinales or Robby Ptacek. He's really fun to watch. My only concern is that they HAVE to find him some rest. Whether it's De'Angelo Speech coming back or Adonis Burbage getting more minutes, Horton has to sit at some point.

Kyle Vinales: He gets out of bed, stands up and he's in scoring range. Underrated stat: Five assists and one turnover.

Malcolm McMillan: The real glue guy. A defensive whiz, a steadying force who had one turnover with five assists himself, he had a fantastic game. He will be a leader someday. The concern is that his shins are bothering him. Something to watch.

Robby Ptacek: He runs hot and cold, and right now he's hot.

Adonis Burbage: Central will need more from him going forward.

Shelton Mickell: Expect his minutes to go up as he continues to look more comfortable.

De'Angelo Speech: You're seeing flashes. Once he gets his legs (or feet more accurately) back under him, this team will look different. You saw some flashes Saturday.

David Simmons: He's all grown up. A more mature person and player. And he's starting to believe he can score.

Terrell Allen: A nice piece to have in the mix, even if he gave nothing but minutes Saturday.


A huge opportunity for Central today vs. RMU. Preview is up. In this gym, I give CCSU a chance, but only if they're willing to fight like the Devils were over the last eight minutes Thursday night.

I will tell you this. They look enthused right now watching the women's game. Ken Horton has jumped up and cheered a couple of times, and the guys seem genuinely into the game.


Between illness and work we'/re behind on this, so let's bang out a man-to-man for record keeping purposes as much as anything.
It was an ugly win, and CCSU will have to be much more consistent today, but a win is a win, and this team needed one. So let's play man-to-man.

Joe Efese: His lack of rebounds and Dave Simmons' fantastic play led to him only getting 10 minutes. But I still think he's improving.

Ken Horton: He put the Superman cape on down the stretch, making up for a subpar effort before that. He was strong on the glass, however. He's 48 from the record.

Kyle Vinales: 27 on the night, and 20 early when Central desperately needed someone to keep the Devils in the game. Sometimes you can have a big first half and have it matter.

Malcolm McMillan: 4 steals and only 2 turnovers. Tough as nails, too. Becoming a quiet leader on a team that needs one.

Robby Ptacek: Coach Dickenman's speech worked wonders. Great second half.

Adonis Burbage: Some filler minutes again.

Shelton Mickell: Looks like he's getting his feet under him after a rough start, then an injury.

De'Angelo Speech: This will be a different team, especially defensively, when he's healthy.

David Simmons: Just a great effort. If Central follows his lead in terms of energy and passion, it will be fine.

Terrell Allen: Same thing. Big minutes before the half that helped keep CCSU alive.