SMITHFIELD, R.I. - The Central Connecticut State menâ€™s basketball team did not return from winter break the way it wanted to in its first of two games against Bryant.
The Blue Devils were overmatched from the opening tipoff and missed their first seven shots of the game on their way to a 93-68 loss on Thursday.
The Bulldogs came out strong and built an 18-3 lead early on that was never in jeopardy. CCSU (2-6, 2-3 Northeast Conferece) was only able to dress nine of the 11 players on its roster as junior Ian Krishnan and sophomore Myles Baker were last-minute scratches ahead of the contest. All nine players took the floor in the contest, including sophomore center Ola Olamuyiwa who saw his first action of the season.
Bryantâ€™s authoritative win was led by 20 points off the bench from Chris Childs, and redshirt senior and Rutgers-transfer Peter Kiss, who posted a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Kiss led the Bulldogs with 30 minutes and left his mark all over the court throughout the game despite an inefficient shooting day, gathering three steals and a blocked shot.
Sophomore Greg Outlaw was the Blue Devils top scorer with 18 points and Nigel Scantlebury notched 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists, to lead his team in the latter two categories.
CCSU cut the lead down to eight points midway through the first half, but that was as close as the Blue Devils came, and they entered halftime trailing by 24.
CCSU had few answers for any of the Bryant players as Michael Green III and Charles Pride also finished with 16 and 14 points, respectively, while center Hall Elisias finished with nine points 11 rebounds and three blocks.
The second half was much more tightly contested than the first, but the Blue Devils were unable to mount the large run necessary to come back. They were able to keep the lead around 20 points for most of the half, but let it reach as high as 30 points as the CCSU offense was out of sync all game.
Bryantâ€™s face-paced style of play challenged the Blue Devils, who were unable to keep up with the Bulldogsâ€™ passing, which generated open shots on nearly every possession.
CCSUâ€™s offensive struggles began in the backcourt, where Bryantâ€™s press forced CCSUâ€™s guards into difficult situations and caused erratic and disorganized ball movement that resulted in difficult shots. Even when breaking the press somewhat succinctly, the Blue Devils were unable to find holes in the Bulldogs zone defense and often held the ball deep into the shot clock and settled for contested shots.
The two teams will reconvene at 4 p.m. on Friday for the second half of their back-to-back. CCSU split its first two Northeast Conference series and will look to do the same in this game.
"As coaches, we will have to make adjustments,â€ť head coach Donyell Marshall said. â€śWith these games [back-to-back days], the teams that have been making adjustments the best, have been coming out and winning that second game. For us, it will be about watching film and making adjustments, as well as our energy and focus."
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com