Mount St. Mary's made 11 three-pointers in the second half to pull away from the Central Connecticut men's basketball team, 78-51, on Saturday at Knott Arena. The Blue Devils were led by senior Mustafa Jones and junior Deion Bute in the scoring column.
The loss drops CCSU to 8-9 overall and 1-3 in Northeast Conference play. The Mount improves to 8-9 overall and 2-2 in the NEC.
Central is back in action at St. Francis Brooklyn on January 11.
The Blue Devils were limited to shooting .375 (21-of-56) in the game and just 3-of-19 (.158) from three-point range, while the Mountaineers hit .500 (28-of-56) overall and 16-of-33 (.485) from the arc in the game.
The teams traded leads twice in the opening period. Central would score six straight points to take an early four-point lead. Jones hit a jumper and was followed by baskets from Bute and sophomore Joe Hugley to make it 8-4 at the 13:49 mark.
The Mountaineers would take their first lead of the day following seven unanswered points. Bobby Planutis hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 10-10. Junior Robinson and Ryan Gomes followed with layups to make it 14-10 midway through the half.
The Mount would push the lead to as much as five points, but consecutive jumpers from Jones and a three-point play by Bute bookended a jumper by MSM's Greg Alexander to make it 27-27 at halftime.
CCSU shot 12-of-28 (.429) in the opening half, including 1-of-6 (.167) from the arc. Central outrebounded the Mount, 21-12, and had a 20-10 advantage in points in the paint.
The Mountaineers shot just 11-of-26 (.423) overall and was 5-of-14 (.357) from three-point range. Mount forced nine CCSU turnovers and held an 8-2 edge in points off of turnovers.
Mount St. Mary's outscored Central, 11-3, to open the second half and take the lead for good. Robinson scored the first five points of the period, before a three by junior Austin Nehls made it 39-35. Robinson would follow with a layup to spark a run of six straight for Mount. A layup by Chris Wray made it 45-38 with 11:47 to play.
The Mount would push the lead to double-figures with a 12-0 run midway through the period. MSM would hit a three-pointer on four straight possessions. Jonah Antonio would hit back-to-back threes to make it 57-40 with 10:14 to play.
Senior Shakaris Laney would hit a three-pointer to end the Mount run, but that was as close as the game would get the rest of the way. Mount St. Mary's would lead by as much as 78-49 with 1:36 to play before the Blue Devils got two foul shots from freshman Kashaun Hicks for the final margin.
Jones led CCSU with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Bute added 11 points and eight rebounds. Nehls added eight rebounds as the Blue Devils outrebounded Mount, 35-31. Junior Eric Bowles had four assists and two steals.
Robinson scored a game-high 27 points, including 23 after halftime. He added four assists and three steals. Antonio made 6-of-11 three-pointers to finish with 18 points, while Alexander added 15 points off the bench.
The Blue Devils travel to St. Francis Brooklyn on Thursday, Jan. 11.