CCSU men's basketball drops another heartbreaker at St. Peter's in the final seconds

It's only two games. That's what the Blue Devils and their fans have to tell themselves after the first three days of the season.

While no team wants to be 0-2, there are plenty of things to like about the Central men so far. There are also some troubling signs. Monday night's 64-61 loss to St. Peter's showed a little of each.

On the plus side, Central's defense has a chance to be pretty good. The Blue Devils also seem to have found a rotation early this season, and it will eventually get stronger with the addition of De'Angelo Speech. Also, with Kyle Vinales, Central will never be out of a game, as he can get hot at any moment.

The other players are mostly young guys who will continue to improve, and this feels like a team that is going to be pulling for one another, which can only help. The Blue Devils are a Vinales miss from two overtime games in two tries, so they have certainly been competitive.

With all that said, there are things you have to worry about. First, that rotation I mentioned is awfully short. I covered a team which won the NEC by basically playing six guys, and it was a special group for sure. There was, however, a reason it was special. You don't have to play all 13 guys, but 7 might be pushing it, especially with how much Central is going to run. Vinales and Malcolm McMillan each played 40 minutes tonight. That's scary, especially with McMillan's leg issues last year.

Secondly, living by the 3-point shot is fine if you make them. Lots of teams have won games taking a bunch of threes. Not that many have won when shooting 22.2 percent from three as Central did Monday. Central got to the line a little more Monday, which helps mitigate bad shooting nights, but the shots have to start falling.

With the big picture covered, let's dig a little deeper into what went right (and wrong) Monday by playing man-to-man.

Adonis Burbage
I'm still very high on him, but this wasn't a great night. He struggled with his shot and committed a couple of turnovers, which weren't balanced with many steals this time. There were also three fouls. On the bright side, he had his usual one of everything on the stat sheet. An off night. He'll be a factor for this team for sure. 

Joe Efese
He wasn't as good as he was the other night, but he did some good things. He's making his free throws and is being aggressive offensively. He also threw in a block and an assist. If Central is going to get things straightened out, however, Efese is going to have to be a big part of the solution in the rebounding department. Four in one night just isn't going to cut it. 

Kyle Vinales
He spent quite a bit of his night at the foul line, which was great to see if you're a CCSU fan. Being able to score 24 points on a night where you shoot 7-for-17 overall and 2-for-9 from three is an impressive thing. Central has to find a way to get him a couple of minutes off per half, however, or his legs are going to be gone by January. When his shot starts to fall more consistently, watch out. He's going to put up some numbers. 

Malcolm McMillan
I like that he has become more confident with his shot and his offense as a whole. He had some nice drives against Fairfield and has worked hard on his shot. In order to become the total package point guard he has the potential to become, however, he must do better than 1-for-7. I know three of those were threes, and he doesn't have to score 10 points a game. He does, however, have to be a bit of a threat to make defenses play him. More important for an old-school true point guard, he has to be better than even in the Ast-TO ratio. 

Matt Hunter
He continued to be a stat-stuffer Monday night, the problem is not all the stats were positive. Six turnovers in particular stands out as a problem. Defensively he continues to be a force, recording two steals and two blocks. But if he's going to be the second option, he must start scoring the ball more efficiently. If he can cut down on the turnovers, make a few more shots and keep doing everything else he has been doing with his defense and energy, he can be a star. 

Terrell Allen
He was missing for too long the other night, and he did well with his new-found minutes Monday, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbing three rebounds while blocking two shots. I have a feeling his minutes are only going to go up from here. He's going to be a big part of Central's frontcourt this season, especially if he keeps playing like that. It will be interesting to see if Howie Dickenman chooses to spread the floor with Burbage more or go a bit "bigger" and play Allen more at the four. 

Brandon Peel
Speaking of guys who are earning more minutes at the four, I really believe Peel is going to be a bruiser for Central for a long time. He had six rebounds (four offensive) in 22 minutes Monday and had two steals while making two of his three shots. I probably spoke too soon before I compared him to Dave Simmons since it has only been two games, but he seems to be on his way to being that type of player. Other than a couple more fouls than you'd like to see, I have nothing bad to say about him so far. 

CCSU now plays at home Thursday night. I'm looking forward to seeing what this team does at Detrick Gym. This team has a chance to be a fun, scrappy group. 

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