The Central Connecticut men's basketball team erased a 15-point Mount St. Mary's lead in the second half to pull out a 54-52 win on the road on Saturday. The Blue Devils took their first lead of the day with 1:17 remaining and ended the Mountaineers' eight-game win streak.
The Mount opened the second half with 12 unanswered points to build its largest lead of the day at 43-28. The Blue Devils missed their first eight shots of the second half spanning the opening 6:52 until Whittingham hit a layup to make it 43-30 with 13:08 to play.
Central outscored Mount St. Mary's 15-4 over a span of 7:43 to cut the deficit to four points. Whittingham opened a quick 9-0 run for CCSU with a layup and Cumberlander had five points during the spurt, including a layup to make it 43-37.
The Blue Devils defense limited Mount St. Mary's to just three field goals during a span of over 14 minutes and an 11-0 run helped give Central its first lead of the day. With 3:08 remaining, junior Kevin Seymour hit a layup to open the spurt, followed by five straight points from Austin Nehls. A three-pointer by Nehls with 1:17 to play gave Central the lead, 50-49.
Seymour and Nehls hit four foul shots to put Central up 54-49 with 23 seconds to play. Greg Alexander hit a three-pointer with 13 seconds left to get The Mount within two, but the Blue Devils would hang on for the win.
Mount St. Mary's scored the first nine points of the game, going 4-for-4 from the field. The Mountaineers took advantage of forcing three CCSU turnovers in the opening 2:21, and after an Elijah Long steal, he found Junior Robinson for a three-pointer to make it 9-0 at the 17:39 mark.
Senior Khalen Cumberlander got Central on the board with a driving dunk at the 16:09 mark. The Blue Devils settled in from there and go on a stretch of hitting 7-of-8 from the field to get within two points. Senior Tafari Whittingham hit a jumper from the baseline to make it 21-19 in favor of the Mountaineers at the 9:57 mark.
The Mount pushed its lead back to as much as six points in the first half, but freshman Tyson Batiste hit a short turnaround shot in the lane just before halftime to get CCSU within three points, 31-28, at the break.
Cumberlander scored 14 points in the game to lead CCSU, while Nehls added 12 and Whittingham chipped in with 11. The Blue Devils shot 34.6 percent (18-of-52) from the field and 6-of-15 (.400) from beyond the arc.
Mount St. Mary's had four players score at least eight points in the contest, including Long, who led the team with 10. The Mountaineers shot 20-of-57 (.351) overall and 6-of-27 (.222) from three-point range.
CCSU improves to 5-18 overall and 3-9 in the Northeast Conference. Mount St. Mary's is now 12-13 overall and the NEC leaders are now 10-2 in league play.
The Blue Devils travel to Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday, Feb. 9. The game will tipoff at 5 p.m. and be carried on ESPN3.