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MEN'S HOOPS DROPS 63-49 DECISION AT CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE
New Britain, CT (February 6, 2003) - For the third straight game and the seventh time in the last eight games, the Central Connecticut men's basketball team was victorious over a conference opponent. On Thursday night, the Blue Devils led from start to finish in a 63-49 victory over UMBC to improve to 11-8 overall and 8-2 in the NEC. The Retrievers fall to 6-13 overall and 4-6 in the NEC.
In a game that Coach Howie Dickenman said he knew would be a grind, the Blue Devils held UMBC to just 49 points, the second lowest total by any Central opponent this season. Central also held the Retrievers to 40 percent shooting from the floor, the second time in as many games that an opponent has shot 40 percent or below against the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils led from start to finish, unlike the last two games when they came back to win after trailing by 12 points in the second half, to pick up their ninth league win of the season. Leading by nine at halftime, 25-16, the Blue Devils lead dropped to five points three times in the first 6:30 of the second half. Leading 34-29 with 14:36 left in the second half, Central used a 12-4 run over the next 3:30 to increase its lead to 46-33 at the 11:05 mark. Freshman Justin Chiera had five points during the run while sophomore Rich Rich Pittman scored two of his team-high 16 points in that stretch. The lead would again get as low as seven in the half, but the Blue Devils responded scoring 10 of the games final 13 points to seal the victory.
The Blue Devils once again made the most of their trips to the free-throw line. They were shooting 78 percent from the line entering the ballgame, good for fifth in the country. In 24 attempts they made 19 free-throws, including eight of nine from Jon Popofski, his second straight game with eight of nine free-throws made.
For the first time this season, the Blue Devils had five players score in double figures in the win. They were led by Pittman with 16 and junior Ron Robinson who had his sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. He had nine boards in the first half alone. Jon Popofski and Justin Chiera each added 11 points while senior John Alexander had 10.
UMBC was led by Kareem Washington who had 12 points and Eugene Young who had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Andrew Feeley and Justin Wilson each had eight points in the loss for the Retrievers.