Well, that was less than ideal. Despite playing well offensively, Central Connecticut St. wasn't able to continue its strong play of late, as it lost to a short-handed Austin Peay team that suspended a couple of starters (and send them home from Jamaica!) prior to the game.
If you just looked at the Four Factors, you'd think CCSU won this game; they were able to hold Austin Peay to < 50% eFG%, shot the ball pretty well themselves, and had just 7 turnovers (10.5%).
But win, they did not. And one of the primary reasons was due to...
Free Throw Shooting
After making 16 of 18 as a team in their win over UMass-Lowell on Tuesday night, the Blue Devils were just 10 of 19 on freebies Friday afternoon giving away a ton of points at the free throw line. Meanwhile, the Governors made 18 of their 19 free throw attempts. It's safe to say this game was won and lost at the free throw line.
Tyson Batiste missed all three of his attempts (all in the first half), while Deion Bute continues to struggle; he was 3 for 5 Friday and is now 6 for 12 on the season after converting at a 72% clip last season. Tyler Kohl missed two (though one was intentional at the end of the game), and Ian Krishnan and Thai Segwai each missed one.
Raise your hand if you thought the 2018-19 Blue Devils would have an issue protecting the defensive glass? Austin Peay had 14 offensive rebounds on Friday (39.5%), and CCSU is now 287th in the country in defensive rebounding rate. For a team that was second in defensive rebounding in the NEC last season, it's certainly a cause for concern.
They obviously have the necessary size to be a good rebounding team, and perhaps things will be different once they get into league play.
Still Shooting the Lights Out
Of course, it wasn't all bad. Central Connecticut continues to shoot the hell out of the ball, especially from long range; they were 10 for 24 from three on Friday (41.7%), and are now shooting 45% on the season, which is 25th(!) in the nation.
And yes, the guy leading the way continues to be Ian Krishnan. After making 4 of 8 on Friday, he's now 13 of 26 in his first four games at the collegiate level, and if you included the exhibition game against Arcadia, he's 18 for 34. I think he's pretty good.
But he wasn't the only one. Kashaun Hicks got on the board, knocking down two three-pointers, Joe Hugley was 2 for 5, and even Tyson Batiste made his lone attempt. Unfortunately Tyler Kohl, after doing his best Krishnan impersonation in the previous two games, was just 1 for 6 from three.
And it wasn't just the perimeter play; they shot 50% from inside the arc, and are converting at a 50.6% on two-pointers, which is above average (49.6%).
Man, CCSU had plenty of chances to tie or take the lead with just under 30 seconds left. Hugley missed a wide open three, Kohl missed a shot at the rim (and the ensuing tip), then Hugley air-balled a 10-footer. Valiant effort.
WTF was that at the end of the game? Tyler Kohl pump-faked a free throw, and Deion Bute fell for it. I don't understand the point of the pump-fake...best case scenario, APSU goes into the lane and Kohl attempts another one if he misses it. It wasn't going to help them score two points. But also; c'mon Deion!
After scoring 20 points on Friday, Ian Krishnan now has at least 20 points in three straight games. I have no idea how that stacks up historically, but I doubt any freshman not named Kyle Vinales has done that in CCSU's D1 history.
Tyler Kohl finally had a "subpar game", at last in terms of scoring; 14 points on 5 of 16 shooting. Anecdotally it appeared he settled for too many jumpers, and had a lot of difficulty getting to the rim. But of course, in typical Kohl fashion, he had 8 assists (against 1 turnover) and 6 rebounds.
Deion Bute had his best game since the season opener at Hartford, making 5 of 6 from the field for 13 points.
The APSU zone gave CCSU fits early in the second half; a heavy lack of movement and inability to get the ball in the middle.
Thai Segwai was 0 for 2 from the field, including a missed layup after a really nice move, and is now 1 for 9 so far this season. Plus, despite having three assists Friday, still has a negative A/TO (4/5) on the season.
Kudos to Donyell Marshall for allowing Ian Krishnan to play significant minutes in the first half despite picking up his 2nd foul with 14:42 left in the half. He never picked up another foul, and is fouling at a rate of 3.8 per 40 minutes. He showed trust in the freshman and it paid off.
After playing 46 minutes combined over the previous two games, Karrington Wallace saw just 7 minutes Friday. And I bet I know the reason; his measly 8.6% DR%. Donyell Marshall needed all the help he could get on the defensive boards, and unfortunately Wallace isn't there yet. That doesn't mean he's not a really good prospect, there's just going to be matchups where he doesn't fit. That's the benefit of depth.
What a sweet dunk by Kashaun Hicks at the end of the game, capping off his 8 point day. He's playing really well right now, and has earned his increased playing time.
One of the most enjoyable things about doing the game previews is learning about players like Terry Taylor, then getting to watch them play. Taylor was awesome; 21 points and 17 boards. He's only a sophomore, and I hope for APSU's sake he sticks around. But man is he a load.
If the Governors are going to compete for an OVC crown, they are going to need to defend more. The Blue Devils had a lot of open shots.
Jabari McGhee and Chris Porter-Bunton were sent home from Jamaica by head coach Matt Figger. I hope whatever they did last night was worth it!
The Blue Devils get to hang out in Jamaica tomorrow, then finish up the Jamaica Classic on Sunday night at 9pm against Florida A&M, which lost to Campbell 66-59 on Friday.