Well, the saying goes "there's no such thing as a good loss", but when a Northeast Conference goes on the road to take on a top 70 team and is within three points with four minutes left to play, it's hard to be too negative.
Central Connecticut outscored the Hoyas by four in the second half, and hit a bunch of big shots down the stretch. Ultimately they couldn't get enough stops to pull off the upset, but they should be proud of themselves.
After managing just a 48% eFG% in the season opening win over Hartford, the Blue Devils lit it up from three-point land, making 12 of their 25 three point attempts (8 of 11 in the second half).
The biggest difference in this game came at the free throw line; the Hoyas got to the foul line 26 times to 16 attempts for Central Connecticut.
The Three-Point Shooting
After Tuesday's season opening win, I had my reservations about the Blue Devil offense; specifically the three-point shooting, as they were just 2 for 7.
Maybe I jumped to conclusions too quickly; Saturday night they were 12 of 25, including 6 of 11 for Ian Krishnan, 4 of 7 for Tyler Kohl, and 2 of 5 for Joe Hugley.
The twelve made threes were the most for a Blue Devil team since they made 14 in January of 2017 against St. Francis U.
Sure, we saw Ian Krishnan break out in the exhibition game against Arcadia, but he was mostly quiet against Hartford. He was decidedly unquiet on Saturday. 6 of 11 from three, 10 for 17 overall, and big shot after big shot. This guy is completely unafraid, and might be the best CCSU freshman since...Kyle Vinales?
But he wasn't the only one...how about Karrington Wallace?! With Joe Hugley largely ineffective in the second half, Wallace gave CCSU 20 really good minutes, scoring 12 points and grabbing a couple of rebounds.
Despite needing to put on some weight, Wallace is sneaky-strong and physical, and has some bounce to him. Plus he knocked down all four free-throw attempts, and looks like he will be a real player for this program.
After making 15 of their 20 attempts on Tuesday, the Blue Devils were just 10 of 16 against Georgetown, really missing some nice opportunities to bring the game even closer.
Deion Bute missed two free throws when CCSU was down 8 with three minutes left, Kashaun Hicks missed his only attempt, and Tyler Kohl, Joe Hugley and Krishnan all missed one each.
What made matters worse; Georgetown got to the line 26 times, making 20 (77%).
In the game preview, I commented on Tyler Kohl's struggles with high major opponents last season. Yeah, he didn't struggle tonight. 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and a 57% eFG%. It was the second time in his career he made four three-pointers in a game. His growth as a player from last season to this season is obvious.
In both games so far this season, Tyson Batiste was on the bench during crunch time, with Thai Segwai running the point. What's more; Saturday night, Segwai played more minutes than Batiste ( 20 to 17). Batiste had four assists and 2 turnovers, while Segwai had 1 assist and 0 turnovers.
After playing strictly man-to-man against Arcadia and Hartford, Donyell Marshall went zone-heavy against Georgetown in order to try and deal with the Hoyas size up front. And despite going zone, CCSU performed admirably on the boards; Georgetown had 11 offensive rebounds (~31%). On the flip side, CCSU had 9 offensive boards of their own (28%). They are going to dominate in the rebounding area come NEC play.
Kashaun Hicks attacked the rim nicely on two occasions, and though he's yet to hit a three-pointer this year (he's 0 for 2), he's provided some really nice minutes.
Deion Bute left the game with about two minutes left and was limping pretty bad; he had knee surgery in the offseason, and will be something to keep an eye on.
Jamir Coleman was unavailable due to a hamstring injury which he suffered late in the game against Hartford. He was a pretty big loss in this game, as he's most equipped to deal with the size and athleticism of a Big East team.
Despite the loss, Central Connecticut moved up from #286 to #274 in kenpom, which is the fourth highest of any NEC team. It's early obviously, but the computers like what they've seen so far.
Man, it's easy to see why Jessie Govan is a pre-season All Big East first teamer. 6'10" 255 lbs., knocking down threes, and making good decisions in the post. He had 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting, plus 8 boards and 3 blocks. He made Deion Bute look like an average sized human, which is not easy to do.
James Akinjo is going to be a star. He struggled shooting the ball (2 for 10), but made all eight of his free throws and showed the kind of quickness you don't see often at the NEC level.
Mac McClung has struggled in his first two career games, including 0 for 7 from three. The talent is there, though.
The Blue Devils will host UMass-Lowell on Tuesday night in their 2018-19 home debut