Looking back at a bad day all around for the CCSU men's basketball team Saturday

I'll have more on the Central women playing in Texas and what the Shelton Mickell news means to Central in the big picture a little later, but for now let's focus on a depressing afternoon in West Hartford after Central's surprising 80-77 loss to the Hawks.

First the good news. With this group, the Blue Devils are never out of a game which is reasonably close. As Kyle Vinales started shooting Central back into this one late, a colleague of mine decided he could score 6 points in a possession. I turned to him and said if he pulls this one off, they're going to start telling Kyle Vinales stories like they tell "Johnny Football" tales in Texas.

But while I was one more 3-pointer away from starting a Kyle Basketball story about the time I saw him beat a rival on the road, the key point here is he never should have had to. Not on this day. Both he and coach Howie Dickenman were honest about their team's lack of intensity in this one.

I chalked it up to a team which knew it had beaten its rival by 30-something last year but forgot that most of the team which did that was gone. This team is capable of doing something similar, but needed to do more than just get off the bus.

Central just got outworked in this one. You can live with Hartford shooting the lights out and Central struggling a bit, but the way the Hawks were flying around getting rebounds and loose balls was the disappointing thing. Central just didn't want this one as much as the Hawks did, and it showed. Hartford wanted payback, and Central wanted to go back to sleep.

Things like allowing an offensive rebound to the one guy from the other team in the lane on a free throw with the game in the balance can't happen.

If you're a Central fan, you hope this is just a wake up call and a game which is just a footnote in the story of the season. Whatever it ends up being, let's document it for the record with a quick game of man-to-man.

Joe Efese
He struggled with his shot, but did well on the glass. He couldn't do much about Mark Nwakamma, but I feel like a lot of people in the America East won't, either. And actually, with the exception of points scored, he played him pretty evenly. And part of that is Central has someone else who does the scoring.

Adonis Burbage 
Shooters go through cycles, so I wouldn't worry about Burbage long term. Still, you'd like to see him do a bit more in the other phases of the game while his shot isn't falling. He usually does, so I'll just chalk this up to a bad day.

Kyle Vinales
There's only so much you can ask the young man to do. He struggled at times, but ended up better than 50 percent from the floor and darn near stuck a couple of threes late which would have gotten Central back into it. 32 points and only 3 turnovers in 40 minutes is still a heck of a day. As Howie Dickenman pointed out after the game, which I hadn't given much thought to this year, Vinales is on a pace to smash Ken Horton's all-time scoring record at CCSU. Smash it.

Malcolm McMillan 
Just as impressive is what the point guard is doing. I can't stress enough how hard it its to play 40 minutes and commit one turnover while being the main ball-handler, and do it while playing defense the whole time. This effort wasn't great on defense, but generally speaking he's a tough defender. Also, his offense as he promised before the year, is steadily improving. This backcourt has a chance to be special by next season, and it's darn good now. That is, if they don't collapse from exhaustion.

Matt Hunter

A fantastic all-around effort. Six big free throws down the stretch to keep Central alive, 8-of-9 overall, 22 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and a block in 35 minutes. And, to me most important, just two turnovers. Really a strong showing.

Terrell Allen 
Strong work on the glass in 19 minutes and provided some energy on a night when it was needed. He's in charge of doing a lot of the dirty work inside, and he does a good job of it on most nights.

Brandon Peel
He had two nice putbacks and probably deserves more than the five minutes or so he's been getting of late, but I'm not sure which of the bigs you'd sit to get him in. If only he played guard.

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