For the first time this season, the Central Connecticut State University Men's Basketball team played a truly bad game. In each of the team's previous three losses, there were reasons for optimism, whether it was certain individuals' play, the hot shooting, or solid performance against quality opponents. Tonight? Not so much.
When a team has an eFG% of 34.5% (meaning they average 0.69 points per field goal attempt), it's hard to put up points. But when the same team also turns it over 24% of the time? That's how you get a dismal 0.86 PPP,
On the plus side, defensive rebounding wasn't a major issue Thursday evening. The Blue Devils generally dominated the boards, holding NCA&T to 24.2% OR%.
Tyler Kohl Goes MIA
Kashaun Hicks started in place of Tyler Kohl, who entered the game about three minutes in, grabbing a rebound and missing a three-point attempt, before heading back to the bench for the remainder of the game.
Luckily for Blue Devil fans, Kohl was dealing with an illness; he tried to give it a go but simply could not. Crisis averted.
So about that hot shooting...
CCSU came into this one shooting 45.6% from three on the season, and you wouldn't have known it by watching on Thursday night.
4 for 23 from beyond the arc is rarely going to get it done, and they weren't much better inside the arc (14 for 35, or 40%).
Ian Krishnan was 2 for 10 from deep, while Joe Hugley was 2 for 9. There were some good looks too, but they just couldn't get them to fall.
What's more; NCA&T had six blocked shots, and pretty much owned the paint.
I never thought CCSU was as good of a shooting team as they appeared to be through the first seven games, however I believe Thursday night was just a blip.
The Aggies had 15 transition points, against zero for the Blue Devils, and it seemed like they were beating CCSU down the floor consistently.
I chalk that up to effort. I'm never the "well the other team just wanted it more" kind of guy, but it honestly seemed like there was some lackadaisical play, and there were times when NCA&T was getting layups off made baskets. That just can't happen.
I'm sick of talking about turnovers. But 17 turnovers in 70 possessions (24%). Plus just 10 assists. What else can you say, at this point? Lazy passes, dropped rebounds, traveling, etc.
Hicks didn't exactly make the most of his opportunity for increased playing time; just 1 for 5 from the field in 17 minutes (though he went 5 for 6 from the free throw line), and found himself on the bench during the majority of the second half.
I'm already tired of the "hook and hold" flagrant foul, and it came back to bite Joe Hugley early in the second half.
CCSU stayed hot at the free throw line; 20 for 25 on the evening.
I can't help but wonder why Donyell Marshall didn't apply pressure defense earlier in the game? CCSU was down 10 with about 5 minutes remaining, however didn't utilize the full court press until the game was essentially out of reach.
Big man Ibrahim Sylla played sparingly at Northern Colorado before coming to North Carolina A&T as a grad transfer. 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. He's going to be a major problem for MEAC opponents.
Quavius Copeland, another transfer (from Middle Tennessee St.) was dynamite from the outside; 16 points on 4 of 8 from three, and it seemed like he knocked down a three-pointer every time CCSU got close.
Kam Langley at 8 assists against just 2 turnovers, and really carved up the Blue Devil defense.
The Blue Devils head to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech on Saturday at 5pm. The trip home to New Britain might not be much fun.