Bulldogs overpowered by CCSU, 69-51

BULLDOGS OVERPOWERED BY CCSU, FALL TO BLUE DEVILS, 69-51, THURSDAY NIGHT

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Central Connecticut leaned on its top three scorers for 45 of the team's 69 points, as reigning NEC Player of the Year Ken Horton and standout freshman Kyle Vinales scored 18 apiece to lead CCSU to a 69-51 win over the Bryant University men's basketball team Thursday night at Detrick Gym.

Junior Dan Calandrillo (Leonardo, N.J.) tied his career high with 12 points and was one of three Bulldogs (2-16, 1-6 Northeast Conference) to finish in double figures. The guard also pulled in a career-best eight boards on the night, while sophomore Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) fell just a single rebound shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine boards. Frankie Dobbs (Berea, Ohio) recorded 10 points on the evening.

Despite the loss, Bryant won the rebounding battle for just the fourth time this season, 39-38. But it was Horton's 11 rebounds marked a game high as the CCSU (9-8, 6-1) senior collected the only double-double of the contest. Malcolm McMillan dished out 10 helpers on the night while Vinales added seven assists to his game-high 18-point mark.

The Bulldogs had a tough time getting started, turning the ball over five times in the opening eight minutes to spot Central Connecticut a 14-7 lead, with 10 of the Blue Devils' points coming from Vinales.

Central Connecticut quickly extended that lead to a 21-7 advantage, as Bryant was held scoreless over a 6:35 stretch early on in the first. The visiting Black and Gold couldn't get their looks to fall, shooting a measly 25.8 percent in the opening frame, paced by nine points from Dobbs.

But the Bryant defense stepped up in the final minutes of the stanza, holding CCSU to just a single basket over the final 3:50 and end the half on an 8-2 run. The spurt cut a 17-point gap to a 31-20 margin at the intermission and gave the visitors momentum for the first time in the contest.

The second half opened in back-and-forth fashion, and the Bulldogs would cut it to 10 twice in the opening four minutes. But CCSU would turn the tide on that trend soon after and score seven uninterrupted tallies to push its lead up to 18 points, 46-28, with 14:12 to play.

The Bulldogs would cut their deficit back to 10 points once more, 50-40, at the midpoint of the frame, but it wouldn't last. Bryant would eventually fall, 69-51, unable to hold off strong Blue Devil shooting.

The home side hit at a 48.1 percent clip in the second half, finishing the day at 44.3 percent. Bryant shot 39.3 percent in the final 20 minutes for 32.2 percent on the night, picking up 16 second-chance points on the contest but giving away 18 points off 14 turnovers in the outing.

The Bulldogs now return to the Chace Athletic Center for their longest homestand of the season, a four-game stretch that starts Saturday against Quinnipiac (4 p.m.).

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