CCSU men's basketball wins third straight in dramatic fashion, this time in OT

First, your stat of the night. Take out Central's big win over Brown and the Blue Devils have played four other games this year. In those four games, the total point differential is four points. CCSU lost by one and by three and won by seven and tonight's 1-point overtime win over UMBC in Baltimore.

I think one thing is clear about this team. Their games are not going to be boring.

Another interesting character trait has emerged: The Blue Devils are showing some guts. Or maybe it's poise. Whatever you want to call it, Central has overcome adversity of late in a way it didn't during the first two games of the season, when the Blue Devils let leads get away and didn't execute late. During this streak, however, they have answered challenges with big shots and even bigger defensive plays.

Tonight's adversity was provided by a UMBC team better than its record, which pulled in front of Central numerous times. In each instance, however, the Blue Devils stormed back, including being down four late in regulation and five in overtime. The extra session itself came from adversity, since the Blue Devils never should have been there.Joe Efese missed a bunny at the buzzer which would have won it. Then, Central was down five in overtime. The Blue Devils were tough mentally and physically, however, and found a way to get it done.

Let's break down how it got done by playing man-to-man

Adonis Burbage
He shot the ball poorly, but made a big one late in regulation as Central made a rally to keep the game alive. Also, he had zero turnovers in 43 minutes. You'd like to see him do some more little things like grab rebounds when his shot is off, but he avoided big mistakes other than missed shots and almost went the distance in an overtime game.

Joe Efese
For his sake, you have to be happy Central won this one so the focus can be on how good Efese was before the missed layup; He had four blocks and six rebounds while continuing to shoot well. His foul issues started to creep back in, however. That's something which he must avoid going forward.

Kyle Vinales
It wasn't quite Jake Taylor, but "KV3" got up 26 shots, making just 11. Here's what makes the kid tough, however. He has no memory or conscience of any kind when it comes to shooting. After struggling all night, he had five points in 46 seconds during the rally in regulation, then scored five in a row in overtime to erase a 5-point hole with under a minute to go. Oh, and two free throws down one with five seconds left in OT to win the game aren't bad, either.
He'll shoot the Blue Devils into some holes this year, but he'll shoot his team back out of most of them.
By the way, I'm totally ok with "KV3" catching on as his nickname since that's what I write in my notes whenever he hits a three. Someday I'll post a shot of my notes from a game. It will be my highest-viewed blog since the scientific community will get involved to decipher the writing.

Malcolm McMillan
No turnovers in 41 minutes is a heck of a night for a point guard. Everything else is gravy. Seven rebounds, four assists and two steals is some tasty gravy for the men in blue.

Matt Hunter
He's this close. Most of his line is wonderful. 11-of-20 shooting. Eight rebounds made him tough inside, and four steals show him again to be a defensive presence. He's averaging more than three steals a game. The problem is he has given almost all of them back with 22 turnovers. He had six Tuesday night. If the game slows down for him just a little bit, Central will be in business. In the meantime, if he does everything else this well, CCSU will take a couple of miscues.

Terrell Allen
A solid, stat-stuffing night of minute-eating. He was like me at the McDonald counter. He got one of each.

Brandon Peel
He was good on the glass but struggled with turnovers. He'll be up and down a bit, but the ups will be higher than the downs are low.

Next up, a return to West Hartford Saturday, this time to play the Hawks themselves, who lost to La Salle.

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