After winning three of four games, including a road win at then-1st place Robert Morris last Saturday, Central Connecticut finished off an 0-2 week with a 90-79 loss at St. Francis-Brooklyn on Saturday.
For the second consecutive game, Central fell down big (by as many as 19 points in the 2nd half) before a late rally made the final score appear closer. However, this game was never in doubt.
With the loss, CCSU is now 5-9 in the league, and on the outside looking in at the NEC Tournament. While they are tied with Bryant, the Bulldogs own a win over St. Francis University, which now has a two-game lead for first place in the league. Central needs to finish ahead of Bryant in the standings. An uphill battle, indeed.
The Perimeter Defense
It's no secret that the Blue Devils lack the kind of perimeter quickness that the majority of NEC teams have.
On Saturday, Glenn Braica's crew exploited Central's weakness with a ton of success. Glenn Sanabria used a ton of straight line drives to score 25 points on just 13 field goal attempts, as did Rosel Hurley (20 points on 12 shots) who got to the rim seemingly at will.
The Terriers outscored Central 38-24 in the paint, and it wasn't the bigs who got it done. SFNY shot 58% on 2-pointers, with the majority of that being done by the guards (Sanabria, Hurley and Jordan).
The dribble-drive also set up wide open shooters, as St. Francis-Brooklyn made 5 of their 8 three-point attempts in the second half.
SFNY scored 1.17 PPP on Saturday. That's a lot.
On Saturday, Tyler Kohl scored 26 points which included his 1,000th career point.
It was another high-scoring, low efficiency game for Kohl; he was just 7 for 20 from the field, though did get to the line with frequency, knocking down all nine of his attempts. He also had 3 assists against 7 turnovers.
Scoring 1,000 points in less than two seasons is a super impressive feat. Congrats to him!
The Two-Point Problem
After making just 17 of their 42 two-point attempts on Saturday, Central is now 9th in the league with a 46% FG% on two-pointers.
Of course, it wouldn't be as much of a problem if they weren't shooting a league worst 30.7% from three. What's more, they shoot the 9th fewest three-point shots. Which means their offense is largely reliant on getting shots inside the arc.
For the season, according to hoop-math, 27.1% of Central's field goal attempts come from 2-point jumpers (2nd highest in the NEC behind Robert Morris). And they're making just 38.5% of those shots.
Last season, I thought that maybe the two-point jumper problem was mostly due to Mustafa Jones and Tyler Kohl, who seemed over reliant on those types of shots. However, this season Kohl, Ian Krishnan, Jamir Coleman, Deion Bute, Tyson Batiste, and Karrington Wallace are all taking 2PJ's at least one-quarter of the time. And none of them are shooting better than 43% on such shots (Krishnan).
I'm not sure if it's part of Donyell Marshall's coaching philosophy, a lack of players with an ability to get to the rim, or some combination thereof. But it's going to be difficult to be efficient offensively taking this amount of two-point jump shots.
Jamir Coleman continues to be the most reliable CCSU player outside of Tyler Kohl. 17 points, including 9 for 9 from the charity stripe, and 4 boards. His O-Rating is up to 111.7 in NEC-play, and he's shooting 89% from the free throw line. He's been everything the CCSU coaching staff could have been hoping for.
Central dominated the boards, allowing just three offensive rebounds for the Terriers, and grabbing 10 of their own.
Central is now 6th in the nation in free throw shooting 77.7% after making 24 of 25 on Saturday.
Ian Krishnan made 3 of his 6 three-point attempts, and is now shooting 35% from three in league play. After that slow start, that's mighty impressive.
Central returns home to face Mount St. Mary's on Thursday night in this season's first "must win" game.
The Blue Devils probably need to win at least 2 of their final 4, so a home game against the last place team in the league has to be won. There's nothing more to say about it.